Sounds Good: Ella Weber
Opening Reception: Friday, July 20, 6–9PM
On View: July 20 – August 25
Omaha-based artist Ella Weber looks at connections between the everyday mundane, consumerism, sexuality, and spirituality through a suburban Midwestern ethos. As a resident of Nebraska, where the slogan is “The Good Life,” Weber questions what is meant by “good.” Politeness? Morality? Comfort? Success? Does Nebraska offer everyone this so-called good life? And is “good” good enough?
After completing graduate school, Weber got a job slicing meat behind the deli counter at a chain grocery store. The artist merged her creative practice with her time on the clock, turning the deli into a studio. Exploring corporate culture, comfort and convenience, the polite interactions of a service industry job, and the realities artists face to balance their creative practice and their bills, Weber crafts a strange and playful world in which we question social ideals and aspirations.
Ella Weber intentionally maintains minimum wage jobs as a means to fuel her art, both financially and conceptually. In doing so, she utilizes various means to investigate the tension between consumer and viewer, performer and employee, artist and gallery. She earned a BFA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and an MFA in printmaking from the University of Kansas. Weber has attended arts residencies at Oxbow School of Art, The Wassaic Project, Anderson Ranch, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and most recently, PrattMWP College of Art and Design in Utica, New York. The artist has exhibited nationally including exhibitions at Haw Contemporary in Kansas City, Suite & Bridges Gallery at the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia, Project Project in Omaha, and the Cube Art Project in Lincoln, among many other venues. She has taught at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Pratt Munson-Williams-Proctor College of Art and Design, and as a mentor in Joslyn Art Museum’s Kent Bellows Mentorship program.
September 7 – October 27
Zoë Charlton: The Ipseity Project
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.