Artists inspire each other for “White Out” exhibit
December 20th, 2012
Omaha, NE – A festive collection of new artwork is on display at the Artists’ Cooperative Gallery, where member artists have collaborated to be inspired by the color of the season.
“Okay, let’s start down this wall,” said Dottie Seymour, a local artist and member of the Artists Cooperative Gallery in downtown Omaha. I caught up with her on a day when it was her turn to man the quiet gallery, reading a book behind the desk. She showed me some of the pieces she has made for the Coop’s latest exhibit White Out.
“One of things I do is make paper,” Seymour said, pointing to Seymour pointed to a delicate bowl she’s crafted using sheets of paper mixed with corn husks, flowers, and banana skins, all blended into a pulp and sealed with acrylic spray or wax. “I use a lot of organic seeds, beads, shells,” Seymour said. “I don’t have anything in mind when I start. I kind of just start playing and then…see what happens.”
Seymour, who grew up in Rockford, Illinois and now lives in Woodbine, Iowa has been an artist since about age 11 when she first began sketching and painting. About 20 years ago, she said, she took a class at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, which introduced her to paper.
“When I first started, I thought… what am I going to do with paper? And this is the question I hear an awful lot when I demonstrate paper making. People say what would I want to do with paper? For me, it was just pushing the boundaries to see what can I do with it?”
Seymour is one of about 35 member artists at the Coop who are featured in the White Out exhibit. That holiday-inspired theme was voted on by the democratic group. Seymour led me through the featured work, which includes paintings, sculptures, Christmas ornaments, pottery and glass, many inspired by snow or wintry landscapes.
Pointing to member artist Marcia Joffe-Bouska’s work – a mixed-media image of beads, glass, wood, rhinestones and pearls that resembles a wintry landscape – Seymour commented on her style. “She blows me away; she’s so intricate… she is so precise,” she said. That’s one of her favorite pieces in the exhibit, but there are many others, Seymour said, and she always looks forward to seeing new work.
“That’s the wonderful thing about the gallery,” Seymour said. “I think we all encourage and inspire one another to keep growing and keep changing. That’s what we’re trying to do here, just not stay stoic but keep changing our work.”