In galleries across the metro, the year end is often known for its annual round-ups of favorite artists in group shows highlighting those treasures that may be purchased to celebrate the festive season. Yet, winter will be no time for post-holiday doldrums, as the calendar of venue offerings well into the spring makes it easy to keep those resolutions to get out and enjoy more of the visual arts scene. What follows is a sampling of upcoming shows scheduled around town.
Procrastination is not an option for fans of Joslyn Art Museum, which closes its doors in May until 2024 while its expansion/renovation gains traction. The final Riley CAP show for the year will be a mini mid-career survey of Allison Janae Hamilton’s multi-media narratives of life in the rural American South (Feb. 5-May 1). Featuring recent photographs, sculpture and video, the show will focus on her mythologies drawn from folklore and experience, inspired by the physical and social landscapes of Florida’s coastal, marshy Big Bend region.
Also focused on the landscape will be the keystone spring show at Gallery 1516–Nebraska: Flatwater (Apr.-June). A feast for the eyes, this immersive video installation captures the vistas, wildlife and open skies of the state across the seasons. Conceived and produced by 1516 leader Patrick Drickey and directed by cinematographer Adam Larsen, this ambitious project will no doubt please both the adventurous and armchair traveler alike. Prior to this debut, the Gallery will also feature the group exhibition Confluence, including new work by Kristae Peterson, Steve Azevedo, Bill Hoover, Karen Linder and Meghan Stevens (Jan. 14-Feb. 27), as well as ArteLatinx organized by UNO (Mar. 11-Apr. 8).
Having just kicked off its winter exhibition I don’t know you like that…, Bemis Center devotees will have to wait until its ensuring exhibition opens, a solo effort from sound art and experimental music resident Maya Dunietz. For Root of Two, her installations will take over all 13,000 square feet of exhibition space, crossing boundaries of music, composition, visual art, performance, tech research and philosophy. It promises to provide a powerful sonic experience (May 5-Sept. 11).
Postponed as the pandemic hit, the Union for Contemporary Art will finally be able to present a collection of prints by the late artist Mavis Pusey (Jan. 12-Feb. 26). Named by the New York Times as an under-the-radar but leading 20th-century abstractionist, Pusey was inspired by the “energy and beat of construction and demolition of [city] buildings” and reflects her passion for the dynamism of the urbanscape.
Kaneko has announced it will be expanding its exhibition season Form by opening Monumental Works in partnership with the International Sculpture Center. It will feature the work of such recognized sculptors as Richard Hunt, Manuel Neri, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Kiki Smith and James Surls (Jan. 15-Mar. 15).
The area universities continue to offer their gallery spaces for important student and faculty shows, but do make room for visiting voices. First up at UNO is Insight, a two-person show of Omaha’s Shawnequa Linder and Kansas City artist Harold Smith (Jan. 28-Feb. 24). Comparing and contrasting the work of these two portrait-centric mixed-media painters should provide for provocative viewing. Over at Metro’s Elkhorn campus, Des Moines artist Rachel Connell will present mallscapes and other paintings in Justice, based on her considerations of American consumerism (Mar. 16-Apr. 13).
Visiting artist Erin McCluskey Wheeler will open the year at Creighton’s Lied Gallery, bringing her aesthetic of bright, layered and intricately constructed collagework. Wheeler is fascinated with the manipulation of paper, its weight and materiality, and its “life” before her interventions. The artist will work with students to create a collaborative collage that will also be on view during the show (Jan. 21-Mar. 1).
Over at Hot Shops, Creighton faculty and students will be featured in two medically themed exhibitions. A Portrait of Medical Humanities: Artwork by Creighton University Students (Jan. 7-31) includes a mix of studio art majors and med students, some as part of classwork and others as independent projects, but all revolving around infusing compassion into observation. These students studied with Creighton prof Rachel Mindrup, whose solo show Scanxiety follows (Feb. 2-28). It focuses on her ongoing series of paintings related to the genetic disorder neurofibromatosis, including the difficulties of coping with the “what next?” experienced by those with this complex condition.
Getting back on track is the Fred Simon Gallery at the Nebraska Arts Council. It opens the year with the beetle-centric work of Omahan Lily Ackman (Jan. 14-Mar. 2), followed by the pairing of calligrapher Cheryl Dyer and collagist Sophie Newell (Mar. 11-Apr. 4). Finally, the Covid-postponed show of Shaun Ilahi will feature recent photographs by this global citizen (May 13-Jul. 6).
First Friday venues in Benson are still slowly formulating their schedules, but Second Friday venues in/around Vinton Street are ready to roll. Generator Space begins the year with a duo project with Joslyn curator Annika Johnson and Minneapolis artist Hannah Hall, with an emphasis on the body as part of nature (Jan. 14-Feb. 18). Dollhouse, organized by Gayle Rocz, Matt Bailey and Natalie Hanson will explore real/virtual personas by connecting live and filmed choreography (Mar. 5-Apr. 15). May brings an experimental project by Allegra Hangen to turn the gallery into an open studio for Mexico City artist Abraham Chávez González (May 6-Jun. 24).
Next door, the RBR Gallery is again hosting the OEAA visual arts nominee showcase (opening Feb. 11). Its April show will feature an array of contemporary prints created under the collaborative guidance of master printer Mike Sim, founder and director of the renowned Lawrence (KS) Lithography Workshop. May’s feature will showcase the work of Columbia, MO, artist Kristen Martincic, who will be a visiting artist at Metro Community College working with printmaking students.
A few steps away, Project Project will be home to the vivid pop/street inspired painting of Omaha’s Tyler Emery (opening Feb. 11). The following month, Byron Anway and Isaiah Jones are joining forces, combining Anway’s two-dimensional work with Jones’ poetry; afterwards there will be an accompanying CD release of Anway’s “socialist punk” band Red Cities (opening Apr. 8). In May, Craig Roper will be sponsoring a flash sale of his work, lending his support to the ongoing indie efforts at Project Project.
Nearby in Little Italy, Baader Meinhof brings New York City artist Jack Ryan back for an encore through a new series of oil paintings (opening Jan. 14). Its big show for the season will be Joshua Abelow: 1982-2022, a mid-career retrospective of the New York-based artist (opening April 8). A prolific painter whose work often explores the potential of abstract geometries, Abelow is also known for his poetry, past blogging activities and operation of Freddy, a small independent gallery and studio space in upstate NY.