An illustrious display of diverse art at Bemis Center



Even Friday evening’s cold weather couldn’t stop the crowd from gravitating to the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts.

The crowd was there to view three new exhibits that opened on Jan. 14. “Another Nebraska: Nebraska arts council individual artist fellows,” “Vera Mercer: Still Lifes” and a combined exhibit featuring work by Kenneth Adkins, Dan Cran and Victoria Hoyt and are the newests exhibit to open at the Bemis Underground.

When you enter the gallery and take a left the first exhibit that meets you is “Another Nebraska.” It was an exhibition featuring the 2010 Nebraska Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship Awardees.

The exhibit consisted of nine artists each working under various mediums, including conceptual installations, paintings, drawings, clays, glass and tapestries. All were laid out in stark white settings that displayed all of the art beautifully.

One of the most striking works was Lincoln artists  Francisco Souto’s graphite on paper titled “Por el Rio del tiempo #3.” The beautiful gray image of two pairs of feet walking along a stone sidewalk. It was simple, yes, but powerful and elegant.

“Vera Mercer: Still Lifes” was the show’s second exhibit. The exhibition featured 11 major photographic works by Vera Mercer, an Omaha-based photographer. The images alternated between graphic, horrifying and oddly funny, often at the same time. The photograph “Crab, Paris” (2009) featured dead fish, and crab among candles, wineglasses and fully-bloomed pink roses. It captured everything about the entire collection, encompassing thrill, confusion and awe.

The third exhibition featured three artists – Kenneth Adkins, Dan Crane and Victoria Hoyt – in a surreal, post-modern explosion of color and pop culture. Each artist had his or her own flair but I couldn’t help but the viewer can’t help but feel like he or she is stepping into Andy Warhol’s brain, if only for few moments.

Both the art and the beautiful old Bemis building, with its open and modern construction, fit wonderfully well together. They complement each other and viewers get the sense that each was made better by the pairing.