The Michael Phipps Gallery presents the work of Buck Christensen and Betni Kalk in a dual solo exhibit showing this July and August. Though their inspirations both emanate from nature and landscape, their individual styles differ.
Buck Christensen, a photographic artist working in the Council Bluffs and Omaha areas, is well known for his color landscape shots of misty lakes, crisp blue skies, weathered barns and dramatic rural scenes. A signature personal project is his photo documentation of a particular piece of land at Lake Manawa, known as Boy Scout Island, which he has been shooting under differing light and weather, from roughly the same spot, since 2011.
This exhibit features the results from his outings to the fire-damaged areas (April 2018,) south of the Veterans Memorial Bridge. Much of the vegetation in the area between the bridge and the Western Historic Trails Center was killed by river flooding several years ago. The recent ravages of fire drew the photographer to the area. As he further explains, “What began as a foolhardy exercise in curiosity became a study of smoke, light, lines, and destruction.“
Born in Canada and raised in New Guinea, Betni Kalk’s imagery is inspired by found man-made objects and nature, wresting both realism and expression through her colorful and layered landscapes and abstracts. From a simple walk along a riverbank, or an urban hike, she adapts a variety of materials and imagery to shapes and scenes that draw from her training in graphic design just as naturally as from her upbringing amongst the indigenous peoples of the Pacific. She uses any of a multitude of mediums, including encaustic, ink and graphite, and watercolor.
Kalk is known for her organic, pattern-focused abstracts and ephemeral realism. She often combines transparent layers of paint and drawing, mixing textured pattern with cryptic map-like imagery. This exhibit features new work that draws on her myriad source materials to produce digitized patterns for laser-cutting into wood.
The show opens with a reception Friday, July 5th, from 4pm to 6 pm. The Michael Phipps Gallery is located on the first floor of the downtown branch of the Omaha Public Library. An informal artist dialogue with the public is planned for 5 pm. Further information can be found at omaha.bibliocommons.com/events.