By Susan Payne, Contributor
On the corner of 11th and Howard streets, imagination takes over to present the Old Market Omaha with a new featured artist each month. However, two artists were featured last month: Judith Anthony Johnston and J.K. Thorsen, whose artwork both fit the concept of the Artists’ Cooperative Gallery, “connecting local art and worldly wanderers.”
Johnston and Thorsen are fairly new members to the association. Through the month of January, both artists and select pieces of their work were displayed.
Johnston and Thorsen’s styles are quite similar, but both artists have unique ways of expressing how they feel when practicing their mediums. Johnston’s fascination with the anatomy of the human body plays a major role in her production. Many of her displayed works are paintings of bodies, and the mediums she uses help her find more meaning while painting.
“Melding waxes, pigments, oils, charcoals, inks and resins together help me express the lingering questions I have about life,” Johnston said.
Not only does she have a natural talent for abstract art, Johnston also has a thirst for finding truth in some of her pieces’ titles: “The Red Road,” “Compassion,” “Illumina” and “Forgiveness.”
Thorsen, on the other hand, uses place as a common theme. Each painting on display portrays a distinctive place or landscape marked with Nebraska, Kansas or California that was able to openly express his fascination with nature. Thorsten uses ecologically friendly materials like whole oils, glass flake, egg white and antique glass as a public statement of his love for nature. The finishing touches that bring his paintings together are most certainly the titles, “A Grassy Seaside,” “Square Lilly Pond” and “December Prairie.” Although he had fewer paintings on display than Johnston, each artist pursued a very critical meaning that can be found within the nature of their paintings.
Plan on spending at least $3,000 if you want the best of each of the artists’ work.
Thorsen has his own studio in Omaha and pieces in other cities across Nebraska. Johnston’s work has been on display at least once a year since 2008. The gallery is very spacious and there is other art on display from other local artists, offering cultural opportunities for tourists and local travelers. On the second Wednesday of each month, they have what they call “Gallery Walk,” a walk through with the featured artist from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Admission to the gallery is free. Gallery hours are Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.
Keep an eye open every month for a new featured artist, and there is a chance you might find décor for your living room.