Earth to Omaha

New MONA landscape show at Gallery 1516 cultivates fertile ground

When Gallery 1516 opened last fall, it promised to be a showplace for the work of Nebraska artists past and present. Its opening salvo, a tribute to the late Kent Bellows and friends, provided a solid cornerstone on which to build its future.

That foundation is even firmer now with the debut of Terra Firma: A Selection of Nebraska Landscapes from the Museum of Nebraska Art, which is the gallery’s first official, large-scale cross-institutional collaboration dubbed MONA2Omaha.

The exhibition, organized by MONA’s curator Russ Erpelding, spans more than a century of landscapes in various media by artists who either made Nebraska their home or the subject of significant work. It provides an overview of the impressions that the state’s big skies and rolling fields have made on those captivated by its subtle beauty.

Recognizable historical names include Albert Bierstadt, Augustus Dunbier, Wright Morris and Aaron Pyle; a newly acquired Thomas Worthington Whittredge of Evening Along the Platte River is of note.

Among contemporary artists, work is included by Dan Howard, Keith Jacobshagen, Michael James, Deborah Murphy and John Spence, to name a few. One of the biggest surprises in the show is a trio of large ghostly Great Plains abstractions by Jessie Nebraska Gifford, whose work is seldom seen in the area.

Terra Firma: A Selection of Nebraska Landscapes from the Museum of Nebraska Art runs through June 12, 2016. Gallery 1516 is located at 1516 Leavenworth Street and is open Friday-Sunday from 11am-5pm, as well as First Fridays 11am-8pm.

Category: Art, Literary

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