As Omahans awaken to 2023, they’ll find plenty in the works for visual arts exhibitions in the area. However, those hoping to fill their calendars with exact names and dates will find it a little challenging this year, as several venues are not quite ready to commit their schedules to print. What follows are the highlights available at press time.
Following the conclusion of its “Monumental” season, Kaneko will be showcasing another highly regarded artist whose work graces the sculpture garden at the newly renovated Gene Leahy Mall. “James Surls: Nightshade and Redbone” opens Mar. 24 and runs through Aug. 13, including an array of sculpture, drawings and prints that illustrate the artist’s singular approach to abstracting the forms and spirit found in nature. https://thekaneko.org
College galleries usually reserve their spring schedules for student and faculty shows, but there are a few exceptions this season. The UNO School of the Arts is partnering with UNO’s Fried Academy to bring the virtual reality experience “Nobody’s Listening” to the UNO Art Gallery from Jan. 9-Feb. 23. This immersive exhibition uses art, photography and VR technology to bring immediacy to the ongoing Yazidi genocide initiated by ISIS in 2014 by focusing on the determination and resilience of its survivors. Art Gallery | Art and Art History | University of Nebraska Omaha (unomaha.edu) and www.nobodys-listening.com.
Over at the Elkhorn campus of Metro Community College, the Gallery of Art and Design will present “Mindscape: Jing Huang” from Mar. 15-Apr. 12. Huang is a ceramic artist from China who now resides in Charlotte, NC, and whose looping and flowing glazed sculptures bridge the physical and cultural landscapes that contribute to her sense of identity. www.mccneb.edu/gallery
Textiles are the focus of two upcoming shows. At Gallery 1516, the talented stitchmasters of the Omaha Modern Quilt Guild are joining forces with the International Quilt Museum in Lincoln to present “Modern Quilting on the Prairie,” an exhibition contrasting traditional textile conventions with contemporary “no rules” approaches to technique, aesthetics and narrative. The exhibition of 40 quilts runs from Feb. 17-May 14. El Museo Latino will focus on textiles and photographs in “Tintes Naturales/Natural Dyes” from dates TBA in Mar-June. www.gallery1516.org and www.elmuseolatino.org/
As always, there will be plenty of one-artist exhibitions from which to choose. At the Fred Simon Gallery, the exquisitely detailed draftsmanship of Nancy Lepo will be featured in “Spatial Distance” from Jan. 20-Mar. 8. Following from Mar. 17-May 10 will be Joe Addison’s “Landscape, Seascape, Some Kind of Escape.” Addison’s experimental approach to photography, often without a camera, paints with light while deconstructing traditional darkroom practices. www.artscouncil.nebraska.gov/explore/fred-simon-gallery/
The Garden of the Zodiac Gallery welcomes back perennial favorite Christian Rothmann, currently scheduled for Feb. 2-Apr. 2. The versatile German artist will present fresh work reflecting his current investigations of landscape and mountain imagery in oil, oilsticks and Japanese ink. Next up in April-May will be Joseph Broghammer with new oil paintings expanding his surrealistically zoological vision. www.facebook.com/TheGardenOfTheZodiac
On the First Friday side of town, galleries in Benson have a full slate planned. At Petshop, Alyssa Schmitt is organizing “Human,” a multi-media show of local figurative artists (Feb. 3-Mar. 31). “Voices of Choice” is a group show highlighting the work of participants in a rural billboard project sponsored by BFF Omaha, Planned Parenthood and Nebraskans for Abortion Access (Mar. 3-Apr. 28). An immersive installation featuring Ramon Guzman’s funky faces follows (Apr. 7-May 26). www.facebook.com/bensonpetshop
Down the street at BFF Gallery, Stephen Kavanaugh’s exuberant street-smart art will show from Mar 3-24, followed by Isabella Janssen’s paintings reflective of life’s serious and comic absurdities (Apr. 7-28) and Angel Guardians, Inc., an organization that promotes creative engagement for individuals across all spectrums of ability (May 5-26). www.bffomaha.org/gallery
The Second Friday denizens of Vinton Street are filling out their schedules as well. The Roberta and Bob Rogers Gallery is once again hosting the Visual Arts Showcase for the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards with a show from Jan. 13-Feb. 4. It’s been a while since the voting closed on the 17th annual installment, so it’s a great time to see the nominees in each of nine categories before the awards are given on Jan. 29 at the Hoff Family Arts and Culture Center. www.rbrg.org
At Generator Space, artists Joelle Wellansa Sandfort and Wanufi Teshome are presenting “Drop Stitch,” combining text and textiles (Jan. 13-Feb. 17). A dialogue between friends in installation form, the show reflects on the transmissions and losses of cultural information through an intermingling of text fragments with woven, knitted and altered artifacts. www.amplifyarts.org/exhibitions-current
There’s never a shortage of experimentation at Project Project, which has a full menu of monthly offerings. Peyton Pearson’s abstractions mix life’s harder edges with the softness of fiber (opening Jan. 13). Multi-media Jen Bockelman’s art delicately weaves together currents in life’s found objects, texts and sound (opening Feb. 10). Geometric abstraction rules the roost over the next two shows, with a solo of bright, textural acrylics from Jada Messick (opening Mar. 10) and the return of muralist Nick Miller, whose optically energetic floor-to-ceiling duct-tape patterning transformed this same space two years ago (opening Apr. 14). www.projectprojectomaha.com
Baader-Meinhof director Kyle Ladig has always programmed his home/gallery in a personal way, inviting a diverse array of local, national and international artists from within and without whatever constitutes the art world ecosystem. With the opening of “My Whole World” (Dec. 31-Mar. 10), Ladig assembles all his intimate connections presenting artworks and objects created by nearly three dozen friends, family and familiars that enrich his life with affection and meaning. https://www.baader-meinhof.org/