For artists inspired by the world outside their doors, the past couple of years have, unfortunately, offered a lot to consider. For painter John Stillmunks, the effects of COVID-19 have been front and center; for his son, the photographer and filmmaker Brock Stillmunks, it has encompassed life in New York City as affected by the instability of both the pandemic and divisive politics.
John Stillmunks’ works are generally a colorful mixture of wry humor, emotion and energy. The pandemic, which has torqued life as we know it into something surreal and different, has been both a personal and professional experience for Stillmunks, who is also a registered nurse. Contorted, masked faces crowd the foregrounds of his compositions, creating a sensation of claustrophobia in a time crying for social distancing.
The black-and-white photography of Brock Stillmunks provides a straightforward yet personal portrait of the New York City he left behind in his move to Omaha. His views range from architectural studies to images of the ordinary life of the streets, including its pedestrians, park bench-dwellers and public transit riders. Taken during a time of incredible uncertainty, Stillmunks also finds moments of brightness amid hardship.
John Stillmunks: Dry-Docked and Brock Stillmunks: Tomorrow Will Be OK open at the little gallery and the adjacent Smith Gallery at the Mansion on Saturday, Nov. 13 with a public reception from 6-9pm, and runs through Dec. 25. The galleries are located in the Mansion at Blackstone, 144 S. 39th Street and open Thursday and Friday from noon-6pm and on Saturday from 10am-1pm and by appointment. For more information, visit www.thelittlegalleryblackstone.com or call/text 402/681-1901.