Five new exhibitions at the Bemis

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January 13th, 2011

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A native of Berlin, Vera Mercer is internationally renowned for her still life photography (Photo courtesy Bemis Center)

Omaha, NE – Five new exhibitions are kicking off the New Year at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art. They feature 13 artists, all from Nebraska.

The five exhibitions display a diversity of art. The first: a solo exhibition of still life photographs by Omaha’s Vera Mercer, an artist who is internationally known and has been based in the city since the 1970s. This is Mercer’s first solo exhibition in the United States.

Another Nebraska is the second exhibition: a collection of work by nine artists, who are the winners of the 2010 Nebraska Arts Council Individual Artists Fellowship. Their work ranges from kinetic sculpture to large-scale installations and meditative paintings and drawings.

Downstairs, in the Bemis Underground: three more solo exhibitions by contemporary artists Kenneth Adkins, Dan Crane and Victoria Hoyt.

Artists Kenneth Adkins, Dan Crane and Victoria Hoyt are featured in the Bemis Underground's new exhibition (Photo courtesy Bemis Center)

Hesse McGraw is the Chief Curator at the Bemis. He said the exhibitions highlight the wealth of diverse talent the state has to offer.

“It speaks to the richness and sort of vitality of contemporary art practiced in our region,” he said. “Although we often think about new York, LA and Chicago as being the cultural centers of the United States, the work that’s on display at this exhibition reinforces the fact that there are exceptional artists that are choosing to live and work in the Midwest, and it highlights the value that they bring to our state for everyone that lives here.”

McGraw said one of his favorite works on display is part of Another Nebraska: a lighting installation by artist Jamie Burmeister, which is in fact a Morse code message that visitors can interact with. But McGraw said each artist has contributed something unique and extraordinary.

“It’s a good example of the ability of contemporary art to surprise you and create the unexpected and make you think about the world in a novel way,” he said.  “These highlight the power of contemporary artists to both ask big questions about the world we live in, but to come at those questions from a surprising direction, and form pragmatic answers to our world’s biggest quandaries.”

The five new exhibitions are on display at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in downtown Omaha, beginning with an opening reception Friday night.

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