‘Chapter 5: River’: A Visual Novel


September 8th, 2017

Omaha, NE—Visual artist Nancy Friedemann-Sánchez, born in Bogota, Colombia, has been a resident of Lincoln for 6 years after a 20 year stay in NYC. Her work has been shown in various Nebraska galleries, including Darger HQ and Project Project in Omaha, and her next exhibition, Chapter 5: River, will open at the Union for Contemporary Art this Friday. The collection builds on her most recent exhibitions, representing a personal and cultural narrative.

“I’m starting a completely new chapter of my life, and if I was a writer, what could I say that I had done up till that moment?” Friedemann-Sánchez said. “And I thought ok, I’ve written poems stories I’ve created essays and I thought ok it’s time to embark in a complex and large scale body of work which would be parallel to the work of a writer, that being a novel. So I started a visual novel, because I am a visual artist, about migration, about cultural memory. I am from Bogota Colombia. I was born there, but my father’s American and my mother Colombian, so my work is about existing between two cultures and two languages, and that’s where all these chapters come from.”

As a visual artist, Friedemann-Sánchez works in many forms, representing different voices and stories. Earlier chapters feature carved wood and textiles, and one of the center pieces of this show include lace, large Tyvec sheets painted with India ink, and images inspired by traditional Latin American art.

“One work spoke about something that is feminine, that has to do with women’s work, that has to do with textile, that has to do with North America, with art, the history of art, and the other pieces spoke of migration, and they were created in the form of installation. And the work that I’m showing now at the Union goes again to women’s work, makes a reference to lace and to those works that traditionally women have done throughout history via textiles, either in the indigenous communities from the Americas or the women from Europe that came to the Americas. So that work has to do with that, and the title, ‘River,’ has to do again with migration, so they all connect. So it’s women’s work, it’s migration it’s gender, it’s the confluence of cultures coming together, so yes they all interrelate.”

For Friedemann-Sánchez, telling different stories visually means working in different forms, which presents many challenges for the artist.

“I have to teach myself every time I start a new project. I have to teach myself how to create this new piece, so I am always learning, but I believe that I think that as humans we are always learning. We are always evolving and I’m interested in that. So for example in the big drawing piece that I’m showing at the Union, it’s a 53ft. drawing made with India ink on Tyvec, and I had to teach myself to go from the very delicate and detailed work that I was doing in the past to something that is a lot looser and a lot more open, and that had a learning curve, but that I had to completely teach myself to make it seem more watery and make it seem less lacey and more nature and more rivery and more watery and flowy and, so I always present a challenge in each new piece.”

Chapter 5: River, will open at the Union for Contemporary Art in North Omaha this Friday, September 8 at 6pm and show until October 9. On Saturday, September 9 at 2:00pm, UNO Professor Claudia Garcia will join Friedmann-Sánchez for Artists in Conversation, a discussion of the exhibition. For more information, visit U-CA.org.


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