Omaha Creative Institute to Host “Within/Without”


December 4th, 2017

“Unsex Me Here” by Evan Meduna

Omaha, NE—Next week’s exhibition hosted by the Omaha Creative Institute, Within/Without, curated by Esaú Betancourt, examines the expressive potential of textiles—their role as a visual language and the narratives they contain.

Artists Paige Reitz, Maria Luna, Tasha Abourezk, Holly Kranker and Evan Meduna will  exhibit their work, some traditionally incorporating fabric in their pieces and others doing so a little differently.

A Mexico City native, Betancourt was inspired to feature textiles after visiting the showroom of Mexican fashion designer Carla Fernández, who highlights weaving traditions of indigenous Latin Americans in her work.

“It’s interesting to me how a narrative can be shared with this tradition of textiles, but it also can be repurposed,” Betancourt said. “It was very interesting too, because a lot of her pieces are not specifically for men or women. They’re kind of unisex, but it was more than that. It was the integration of cultures and traditions and also the idea that she’s supporting these women—these women who otherwise wouldn’t have a job trying to preserve this part of their culture that’s not commercial.”

Once the medium was chosen, Betancourt was tasked with finding a theme. Considering the rich history of textile work, he became interested in its ties to cultural narratives and identity.

“Initially I began wanting to show all kinds of representation, and I kind of hated myself for picking that because it’s incredibly broad. Fortunately, through research, through looking at different people here in Omaha that could really be able to work with that, I was able to gather this idea of what kind of representation the fabric in general was showing, and it always seemed that it had to do with themes of femininity but then also with themes of queerness and sexuality. It’s very interesting because within the contemporary art world, there really aren’t that many people working with textiles. It’s seen as a craft. Because of that, it’s seen as something for women—not for the male painters, sculptors who have dominated the contemporary world forever but something that is more profane.”

Viewers can expect to see fabric, but it’s not the only medium for this show. Photographers will be exhibiting work, for example. Some pieces do resemble traditional ideas of textile, like quilting, while others might be more abstract. Photographers will be exhibiting work, for example

“You know, it’s kind of stressful for me right now to tell you exactly what they’re going to experience because each artist is completely distinct. So there are all these incredibly different perspectives and very different ideas in materials and aesthetics, but together I think it’s going to have to become somewhat of a collage. There’s going to be a lot of references to assemblage in the way that the shows being put together, and because of that, we’ve also decided to embrace different methods of showing pieces. we’re going to use the floor, fixtures, and we’re also going to use the walls, as are more traditional. So it’s kind of hard to explain what it would look like but I guess the closest thing would be a collage or an assemblage piece.”

And the most challenging part of putting this show together?

“I think that probably the fact that everybody is so different,” Betancourt said, “because not everybody has even studied art in the same way or their craft. The communication is definitely very interesting because I come from an art history background, and some things just make so much sense to somebody who’s also studied that, but for people that are maybe more into studio art or the art of actually making things, I think that it was a little bit different. But I think that in the end it was really getting to a great story, which is a story about all of these people and what the relationship was to these fabrics.”

Within/Without, hosted by the Omaha Creative Institute, will open on Thursday, Dec. 7th at 6:00pm at 1114 Jones St. Studio #7 in Omaha. A performance will begin promptly at 8:00pm. The show will run until Dec. 14th. Upon arrival, guests must select #7 to be buzzed in. For more information, find Within/Without on


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