Monte Kruse, "Untitled" from Night Light series, color photograph
Monte Kruse, “Untitled” from Night Light series, color photograph

Recent work by Omaha photographer Monte Kruse will premiere at the first exhibition to open at the Garden of the Zodiac Gallery since it closed due to the pandemic. Kruse’s new “Night Light” series will open to the public during the gallery’s regular business hours on August 20, though patrons will surely miss delighting in the Garden’s tradition of opening receptions, canceled due to continuing concerns of the virus.

For more than three years, Kruse has been pedaling the streets of downtown Omaha and the Old Market in the wee small hours of the morning. There, amid the familiar buildings, his eye finds a haunting stillness not usually associated with this bustling district. Empty corridors, after-hours storefronts, fog-enshrouded street corners, rain-filled pavement—all yield poetic moments of haunting beauty.

It is Kruse’s attention to light that makes the magic. Whether the illumination spills from a full moon, a street lamp or a night owl’s interior, he is able to capture an immediacy and presence in the urban environment missed by the rest of us tucked away in our comfortable beds.

Monte Kruse, “Untitled” from Night Light series, color photograph

Though Kruse created these photographs prior to the pandemic, these scenes feel all the more poignant in this moment, especially during Omaha’s safer at home days. With businesses shuttered and little car or pedestrian traffic, images such as these express, perhaps, a new familiar.

Monte Kruse: Night Light will open Thursday, August 20 and run through Sunday, September 27, 2020 at the Garden of the Zodiac Gallery. Located at 1042 Howard Street in the Old Market Passageway, the gallery is open Tues-Sat from noon-8pm and on Sun from noon-6pm. For more information, please contact 402.341.1877, email, or visit the Garden of the Zodiac page on Facebook.

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