Caroline Kent: Disappearance of the word, Appearance of the world
Opening Reception: January 12, 6–9PM
On View: January 12 - February 24
Chicago-based artist Caroline Kent explores the limits of language, the process of translation, and the joys of wandering “in the dark” in her other-worldly abstractions. Kent’s practice embraces uncertain and cosmic spaces; the dark, expansive grounds of her paintings become sites for ideas waiting to land, converge, and transform. Through her experiences watching subtitled films, researching Cyrillic texts and Russian Constructivism, and navigating unfamiliar languages while living in Eastern Europe, the artist discovered how the process of conflating images, icons, and translated words can shift paradigms and open up new worlds. In Disappearance of the word, Appearance of the world, Kent invents a painting language that serves as a threshold to an alternate reality or future–one that we can all navigate and translate together.
In conversation with the exhibition, Kat Fackler has choreographed a dance entitled language for the living, which explores the possibilities for communication within movement and dance. Drawing inspiration from the shapes and structures found within Caroline Kent’s work, this performance lives somewhere between realms, in the spaces within our minds where linear, verbal communication is no longer necessary. Featuring members of Omaha's tbd. dance collective, performances will occur in the gallery at 7pm and 8pm on January 12.
Since receiving her MFA in 2008 from the University of Minnesota, Caroline Kent has participated in numerous exhibitions including the California African American Museum, Los Angeles; The Suburban, Chicago; Washington Park Arts Center, Chicago; Elephant, Los Angeles; and SUNY Duchess in Poughkeepsie, NY. In 2012-13 she was a Creative City Making Minneapolis grant recipient. Kent has twice received the Minnesota Artist Initiative Grant, and is recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, a Jerome Fellowship, and a McKnight Artist Fellowship, and is currently a Fellow at Shandaken Project’s Paint School. Kent is included in the forthcoming cross-institutional exhibition Out of Easy Reach, hosted by the DePaul Art Museum, highlighting contemporary and conceptual expansion of abstraction by female-identifying artists from the Black and Latina Diasporas.
Kat Fackler is an Omaha-based choreographer, performer, founding member + co-director of tbd. dance collective. She choreographs and produces movement-based productions and projects throughout the community in collaboration with various organizations and independent artists. Projects have included ESP, a music video for The Faint, One Day, One Month, One Year, a short film for KANEKO’s 2016 Summer Programming, and the finale for Omaha Performing Arts Nebraska in Motion in Fall 2017. Performers for this movement project, language for the living, include Dawaune Hayes and Alajia McKizia and tbd. dance collective members Kat Fackler, Stephanie Huettner, Alyssa Rivera, and Annie Schenzel.
Our 2018 exhibition program is generously sponsored by Paul & Annette Smith.
Join us for the following events throughout the exhibition:
January 12, 7 and 8 pm
language for the living
a dance performance choreographed by Kat Fackler
January 13, 2 pm
Artist Talk with Caroline Kent
March 9 – April 14
Matthew Sontheimer: That's right...I still don't have a website.
Wanda D. Ewing Gallery
The Wanda D. Ewing Gallery is dedicated to the Omaha artist and educator who passed away in 2013. Ewing’s work ranged from traditional print media to painting, sculpture, and fiber arts, and was influenced by folk-art aesthetics and the depiction—and lack thereof—of African-American women in popular culture and the canon of art history. Throughout her career, she represented the connections between autobiography, community, and history, often with a biting, comical edge.
Born and raised in Omaha and educated around the United States, both the artist and her work traveled around the globe: she felt strongly about the fact that where one has been in the past—literally and figuratively—affects how one proceeds in the future. This often led her to historical representations of women in popular and folk expressions, such as pin-ups, beauty advertisements, “Mammy” dolls, and “exotic” figurines, all of which promote sometimes powerful, sometimes problematic ideals of womanhood into which she often projected herself. In sometimes-humorous, sometimes-serious appropriations of works by white, male artists from Western art history she similarly, meaningfully recast the figures in ethnic and gendered configurations that require viewers to rethink the originals. In so doing, Ewing encouraged dialogue around questions of who is allowed to make, see, and be seen in visual culture, and whether the arts look like the communities we live in, challenging her audiences to believe in the transformative power of art to conjure images where people might be themselves wherever they can see themselves.