“ramble” opens oct. 2

BENSON – The little gallery is pleased to host “Ramble” by Lori Elliott-Bartle during the month of October. The opening reception is Friday, Oct. 2, from 6 to 9pm at 5901 Maple Street. The exhibition features paintings and handmade prints inspired by the prairie.

With academic degrees in journalism and social sciences, Lori spent nearly 15 years as a professional journalist and in higher education public relations before she began painting seriously. She has shown artwork in local cooperative and commercial galleries and has had work accepted into regional and national juried shows. Her work is in private collections across the United States and in several countries.

Below is the artist in her own words.

“Walking through waves of swaying grasses and spotting blooms of yellow, purple and white makes me feel at home. Slowing down this year and spending more time at home has allowed memories to emerge and has created space to consider ideas and pursue meaningful activities.

“Some of those thoughts have inspired pieces in ‘Ramble,’ a collection of recent works on paper. Celebrating the prairie, these paintings and handmade prints are inspired by colors and textures found in our native and restored grasslands. None are meant to be botanically accurate, but aim to evoke the motion and openness of wide meadows filled with flowers and grasses.

“Other pieces take the colors and textures into more abstract directions and are connected to subconscious and emotional states experienced while painting without specific direction, offering another way of wandering.

“All the paintings in ‘Ramble’ are made with oils mixed with cold wax medium, a combination of beeswax and resin used at room temperature. Using oils and wax together allows me to create paintings that hold depth, complexity and texture, some of the same qualities about the prairie that I appreciate.

“My painting process is physically active. I use rollers, wide blades and brushes to apply paint, then blot, scrape and carve with knives and points to reveal underlying colors. These lines and colors convey motion and emotion and remind us of the grasslands we call home.”

“Ramble” runs through Oct. 31 at the little gallery. Regular hours are Thursday and Friday from 1 to 5pm, Saturday from 10am to 1pm and by appointment. For more information, call 402.681.1901.

we’re taking a cat nap until october.

Hey, friends – we want to let you know the little gallery is taking a cat nap until October. This means we’ll be closed until Friday, Oct. 2.

We were impressed that the Omaha City Council recently approved a face mask ordinance without politicizing the issue. We also admire Omaha Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Logan for making the tough decision to do remote-only learning for the first quarter.

We love selling the work of local artists (it’s how we pay the gallery rent), but we want to do our part in helping prevent the spread of COVID-19.

If you’re interested in purchasing a work from the current show, give us a call at 402.681.1901 or send us a text – we’ll work something out.

We’ve got an awesome show planned for October, as well as a little surprise.

Here’s to staying safe!

– your friends at the little gallery | benson

tiny art show opens aug. 7

In its biggest event ever, tiny art show invited 50 cities across the nation to create tiny art and reveal it on the same day, and Omaha was one of the selected cities.

The event, originally scheduled for this spring, was postponed due to COVID-19. The Omaha event is no longer on the same day as all the other cities, but that’s okay.

Join Women Who Run Nebraska at the little gallery Friday, Aug. 7, from 5:00 to 7:00pm as this awesome nonprofit unveils miniature art made by some of Omaha’s amazing female artists. WWRN will also host a merch pop-up of all its fan-favorite tees, totes, tank tops and more! The artwork is for sale, and all proceeds will benefit WWRN.

Participating artists to date:

  • Katera Brown
  • Ann Brugenhemke
  • Jennifer Hernandez
  • Megan O’Dea Jenkins
  • Jill Rizzo
  • Joan Wilson Sangimino
  • Linda Willia

BTW, this fall is election season, so get ready to vote.

naaf exhibitions open aug. 7

Oria Simonini

BENSON – BFF Omaha and Lutheran Family Services will present the New American Arts Festival Friday, Aug. 7, in beautiful downtown Benson. In conjunction with the festival, the little gallery will host the work of Oria Simonini and student work facilitated by Mike Giron.

Oria Simonini
Simonini creates small-scale paintings and drawings that depict migrants and refugees. Her work focuses on the human experience of immigration – a highly politicized and polarizing topic. Simonini works from web and news-sourced imagery, sometimes cropping or combining images. “It’s important for me to be true to the sources, that it was a real moment in someone’s life,” she said.

In her work from the series Water’s Edge, the ocean side serves as a stage where two sides of society meet. The beach can be either the end or the beginning of the migrant journey. But the beach also evokes pleasure; a day of leisure spent at the beach, the escape of a vacation. “My focus here is to question who gets to take pleasure on the beach and who doesn’t,” Simonini said. “Instead of highlighting the differences between these groups of people, I use formal qualities to blend them together and to create a false sense of harmony.”

Student Work
Millard South High students from east Africa, Mexico, the Middle East and Viet Nam were asked to reflect on the homes they left behind and the difficulties they face as teenage immigrants. With the help of Omaha artist Mike Giron, their individual thoughts were summed up into paper-cut shapes and designs, which were then arranged into two compositional stencils as a layered screenprint.

Two of the three originally planned layers were produced. The third, contemplating their hopes for the future, was derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic. By switching combinations of paper and ink colors and transparency levels of ink, at least this part of their collective story is told. Some students miss family and friends, familiar foods and music and customs, the ubiquity of their language, their country, their childhood homes, even profoundly elegant objects such as a personal chair. Most seem to have heartbreak in common when thinking of home.  In the mean time, they struggle with being English language learners, schooling, cultural misunderstandings, the American diet and distressing news from home.

“This project follows the structure of screenprinting workshops I do with various groups in which we all contribute to one design, print in workshops and everyone takes home a print,” Giron said. “Unfortunately, the closure of schools did not allow us to take all those steps together. I was able to reassemble and reproduce our compositions and print the suite of prints in this exhibition. Each is technically a monotype, since no color combinations are identical. The shifting color schemes indicate how experiences are both shared and individual.”

This NAAF exhibition runs through Aug. 29.


The little gallery, located at 5901 Maple Street in downtown Benson, is powered by Polecat Communications – we turned 5 in June! Our new hours are Thursday and Friday from 1:00 to 5:00pm, Saturday from 10:00am to 1:00pm and by appointment (402.681.1901). You can always text the appointment number to make sure we’re in before you head our way. Don’t let local art galleries be a victim of COVID-19: support them and the artists who create work for them.

silent spring opens july 3

self portrait | alex jochim

The little gallery will host “Silent Spring” – new work by Joe Addison, Alex Jochim, Caitlin Little and Trudy Swanson – during the month of July. The opening reception is Friday, July 3, from 6:00 to 9:00pm in conjunction with Benson First Friday. The group exhibition features work created during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking of the pandemic…
It’s a brave new world, so there are new rules for this opening reception, our first since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Nebraska:

– There is a limit on the number of people who can enter the gallery at a time. Please pay attention to what’s happening at the door, and act accordingly.
– Face masks are required to gain admission.
– We won’t be serving any food or drink.
– We also reserve the right to cancel the whole shebang at the last minute in response to what’s happening with COVID-19 locally.
– No public restroom, so go before you come.

“Silent Spring” runs through July 31 at the little gallery | benson, 5901 Maple Street. We’ve also got new hours* going forward:

Thursday and Friday
1 to 5pm

Saturday
10am to 1pm

+ by appointment (call 402.681.1901) *You can always text the appointment number to make sure we’re there before you head our way.

Don’t let local art galleries be a victim of COVID-19: support them and the artists who create work for them.

light leak | joe addison
trudy swanson
performance | caitlin little

“brace yourself” tenacious karma” opens march 6

BENSON – the little gallery is pleased to host “Brace Yourself: Tenacious Karma” by John Stillmunks during the month of March. The opening reception is Friday, March 6, from 6:00 to 9:00pm at 5901 Maple Street in conjunction with Benson First Friday.

Born and raised in North Omaha, Stillmunks studied at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Metropolitan State University in Denver before graduating from Iowa State University with a BFA in painting. After college, he and his wife opened the Independent Thought Gallery and Studio in Des Moines, where he shared his work and promoted local artists for 15 years. His art has been featured in shows across the country, from Phoenix to Miami.

Stillmunks recently returned to Omaha and established his studio at Bench. He describes the show as “”17 new paintings examining life’s influences, variables, options, and choices – which often lead to resulting events arriving just as God begins to laugh heartily.”

Below is the artist in his own words.

“My work always has a nod to schadenfreude – also I have been gravitating back to my roots in blue collar North Omaha in terms of color, texture, grit, humor, tenacity, variation, improvisation, perspective and resilience gained from growing up there. Ironically, I have spent my whole life trying to get away from what I am now embracing in middle age.

“I use multiple perspectives and patterned movement to convey energy and emotion. Colors and patterns come directly from Midwestern African American folk art. Textures and imagery are without a doubt influenced by urban Midwestern architecture, graffiti, Catholic church symbolism and graphics and the “edge” acquired from urban environments in the upper Midwest such as Omaha, Minneapolis, KC, and Chicago.”

View his work at:

john-stillmunks.square.site
www.facebook.com/munksie
www.twitter.com/johnstillmunks
www.instagram.com/johnstillmunksart

the little gallery is powered by Polecat Communications in downtown Benson. Winter hours are Tuesday through Friday from 3 to 5pm, Saturday from 10am to 1pm and by appointment. For more information, call 402.681.1901 or email info@polecatcommunications.com.