“Reflection”, 2020, colored pencil on Bristol

Baader-Meinhof, the newest gallery on the block in southeastern Omaha’s growing art market, greets the promise of a new year with Interference, a solo exhibition of artist Casey Callahan. The exhibit, which opens Friday, January 15, from 6-10 p.m., features intricate works on paper, ceramic sculpture and hanging crystal strands by this multi-media artist.

Though furthering Callahan’s longstanding interest in phenomenological affect and the nature of perception, gallery owner Kyle Laidig said in the show statement that the works on view represent a “newly refined and scintillating step forward.” 

“Most of the works speak about light and space, in one form or another. The drawings are filled with rainbows, and elusive forms,” Laidig said. “They seem to depict flashes, splintered moments caught, a glint within a suspended droplet of water.” 

He cites two ceramic sculptures, which “gleam with an opalescent sheen. Another labyrinthine sculpture has been Raku-fired, its oil-spilt patina and amorphous form are earthen and alien in a single breath. They curl and twist, obscuring and revealing pockets of light and shadow.” 

“Wei Wu”, 2013-2021, ceramic, acrylic and pigment

Callahan’s work makes a strong first impression…as it did for this writer… that quickly moves one from the ethereal to the serendipitous, from the sensual to one of recognition with an element of pleasant surprise to heighten the discovery. Take for example, her ceramic sculpture, “Wu Wei”, seen above. Delicate, transparent and organic, it’s as alive as a piece of coral one hovers over as if snorkeling. A wonderful discovery of shared suspended animation.

Also in the exhibit is a blown-glass bowl by the late Czech artist Josef Hospodka, which sits atop an acacia wood pedestal, balancing a mirror orb. This may seem like an odd addition in a solo show, but as the artist is a distant relative of Hospodka, Laidid said Callahan sees the object as both mise-en-scène and key, “quivering with the promise of answers, writ in a tongue unknown.”

“Callahan’s practice has long worked within the intersections of scientific theory and artistic production,” he added. “Her previous work has engaged with cognitive neuroscience and memory to look at the recursive nature of subjective formation. Turning her lens towards perceptual phenomena and spatiality, Callahan molds the exhibition space into a metaphysical Klein bottle.” 

Not unlike a Moebius strip, a Klein Bottle is a translucent vessel where both interior and exterior share the same surface weaving in and out in a continuous loop. Interference places one within and without that loop thus overlapping the classical distinction of subject and object, the viewer becoming part of the exhibition itself. But this metaphysical quest is also highly personal for the artist.

 “Stillness”, 2020, Swarovski crystals

Callahan writes in her artist statement that she aims “to explore the overlap of documented and delusional realities that occur in my everyday life. I do this through a process of constructing my own autobiographical memories into physical objects, experiences and practices.”

This might explain then the paradoxical title of her exhibit. What exactly is “interfering” with this prolific artist who opens next month at Project Project? Nothing, actually. Contrary to popular understanding, “interference” can also be constructive. It occurs “when the wave amplitudes reinforce each other, building a wave of even greater amplitude.”

If viewers are able to ride that wave with Callahan, they too may find, maybe even create something greater in 2021 than both the “documented and the delusional” of last year. Now that would be serendipitous.

Casey Callahan is an artist currently based in Omaha, NE. Casey is a 2017 recipient of the Peggy Arenz Fellowship, and was a 2017 resident artist at Chautauqua Institution. In 2018, she received her BFA in Studio Art from Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, NE. She is currently the Program Assistant at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts and an Artist Mentor at Kent Bellows Mentoring Program.

Interference, a solo exhibit by Casey Callahan, opens Friday, January 15 from 6-10 p.m. and continues till February 19 at Baader-Meinhoff, 1322 S 6th Street. Masks are mandatory for attendance and the maximum number of people inside the space at one time will be capped at 10. With the emergence of the new, highly transmissible variant of the virus, we are requesting heightened diligence in regards to social distancing measures. For more info and gallery hours, go to www.baader-meinhof.org › info 

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