it’s not a phase, mom opens may 4

Stressed Out
Zoe Gaupp
Mixed media
NFS

The little gallery will host its first ever teen art show in conjunction with the May 2018 edition of Benson First Friday.

An opening reception for “It’s Not a Phase, Mom” is set for Friday, May 4, from 6:00 to 9:00pm. The exhibition, which features works by local teens across the metro, is curated by Allison Harris, the little gallery’s intern and a senior at Central High School. “My goal was to showcase the young talent I’ve seen in Omaha from my peers,” Harris said. “The little gallery gave me the ability to show my work while I was in high school, and I wanted to give other young artists the same opportunity.”

The show runs through May 26 at the little gallery, 5901 Maple Street in downtown Benson. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Friday from 3:00 to 6:00pm, Saturday from 10:00am to 1:00pm and by appointment. For more information, call 402.681.1901.

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elements opens april 6

“Earth Elements” by Aimee Mahan, $750.

Elements opens Friday, April 6, at the little gallery, 5901 Maple Street in downtown Benson. The exhibition features the work of 15 members of the Midwest Fiber Art Alliance (MFAA). The opening reception runs from 6:00 to 9:00pm, and all are welcome to attend.

Each piece in the show represents the artist’s interpretation of the theme “ancient elements.” The featured artists are:

  • Rhonda Baldwin
  • Marge Bresel
  • Shelly Burge
  • Gail Dickel
  • Jo Drueke
  • LaVonne Dunetts
  • Cindy Erickson
  • Debo Hysack
  • Cynthia Levis
  • Aimee Mahan
  • Wendy Maliszewski
  • Marcia O’Donovan
  • Peg Pennell
  • Cindy Schroeder
  • Dianne Thomas

The MFAA consists of about 20 local artists who have joined together to produce fiber-centered art to be displayed in a gallery setting. The group selects a yearly theme and parameters that guide the creative process.

Elements runs through April 28 at the little gallery. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Friday from 3:00 to 6:00pm, Saturday from 10:00am to 1:00pm and by appointment. For more information, call 402.681.1901.

5 with sophie newell

Fragments by Sophie Newell opens Friday, Feb. 2, at the little gallery, 5901 Maple St. The reception, which is free and open to the public, runs from 6:00 to 9:00pm. Below is a Q&A with the artist.

Q: When did you know you were going to be an artist?

There was no definitive moment. I have always been artistic and creative, so art was something I just assumed would always be part of my life. My concentration in college was illustration, so I wouldn’t have necessarily called myself an artist at that time, but I think in the last few years, my focus has shifted toward more personal and self-initiated work.

Q: Describe your process.

I use a variety of mediums and processes, but my work is chiefly collage. I collect old photographs, textbooks, encyclopedias and all kinds of ephemera, and layer the materials until I have a composition that speaks to me. I often use digital tools, such as Photoshop, to combine layers of controlled and precise imagery and shapes with areas of more expressive mark making and texture. Although my pieces are two-dimensional, I want them to retain a tactile quality.

Q: Where do you find inspiration?

I am excited by the idea of telling stories through objects. I relish working with found materials, especially ephemera, photographs and old books I find in thrift stores, as each piece of notepaper, label or ticket has a history that to me is personal and intriguing.

Q: Name the 3 most important things in your studio space.

I would be lost without my collection of found papers. I’ve been hoarding paper scraps for years and can’t bear to throw anything away in case one day it will be the perfect final segment of a piece I’m working on. I also use my scanner and computer every day for research, cataloguing found materials and to create my digital pieces.

Q: What do you want others to know about you/your work?

I often venture into themes of maps, journeys and biographies, and use found objects and photographs to create original pieces that tell a life story. The pieces in this exhibition are inspired by and based on a found scrapbook made in the 1920s by my husband’s great-grandmother, Louise Plunkett.

fragments opens feb. 2 at the little gallery

Fragments by Sophie Newell opens Friday, Feb. 2, at the little gallery, 5901 Maple Street in downtown Benson. The reception runs from 6:00 to 9:00pm.

Newell is a mixed media artist who works mainly with drawing, collage and digital tools. Originally from Manchester, England, she attended Edinburgh College of Art and received a BA in Visual Communication in 2009. She has exhibited work in both the United States and the United Kingdom, and has lived in Omaha since 2014.

Below is her artist’s statement:

“I am fascinated by themes ranging from maps and journeys to biography and the idea of telling stories through objects. I often venture into this subject by using found objects and photographs to create original pieces that tell a life story, either real or imagined.

Fragments is a response to a found scrapbook made by teenager Louise Plunkett in the early to mid 1920s. Louise grew up in Council Bluffs and Omaha, and the book documents her high school years at Abraham Lincoln and then Omaha South high schools. The pages include letters from friends, newspaper clippings, photographs and event tickets, and include handwritten captions and comments scrawled in the margins.

By using imagery and text from the book, I aim to elevate and preserve the ephemeral. The intimate process of sifting through a stranger’s memories allowed me to form a personal connection to Louise through the mementos she kept. This collection is my exploratory attempt to ‘connect the dots’ and construct a narrative from these remnants.”

Fragments runs through Feb. 24 at the little gallery. Hours are Tuesday through Friday from 3:00 to 6:00pm, Saturday from 10:00am to 1:00pm and by appointment. For more information, call 402.681.1901.

works by steve schneider opens jan. 5

Works by Steve Schneider opens Friday, Jan. 5, at the little gallery, 5901 Maple Street in downtown Benson. The reception runs from 6:00 to 9:00pm.

Schneider worked in the Old Market during the 1980s. The pieces in this show are part of the Kenny Carter Collection at the little gallery. Each work is roughly 30″ x 22″ and is priced at $75. The show runs through Jan. 27.

Gallery hours are Tuesday-Friday from 3:00 to 6:00pm, Saturday from 10:00am to 1:00pm + by appointment. Questions? Call 402.681.1901.

third annual little show opens dec. 1

The third annual little show opens Friday, Dec. 1, at the little gallery, 5901 Maple Street in beautiful downtown Benson.

All works in the main gallery are 12″ x 12″ or smaller and retail for $100 or less – get your holiday shopping done for the art lover on your list!

Featuring works in the main gallery by:

  • Jill Becker
  • J.J. Carroll
  • Alex Jochim
  • Isaac Kleven
  • Chad Leahy
  • Mike Loftus
  • Debbie Martin
  • Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Sophie Newell
  • Jim Pattavina
  • Jason Steady
  • Torrey Smith
  • Trudy Swanson
  • Brad Thiel
  • Jadon Ulrich
  • + a few surprises

You can also shop the annex @the little gallery for larger works at various prices.

The show runs through Dec. 30. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Friday from 3 to 6, Saturday from 10 to 1 + by appointment. For more information, call 402.681.1901 or email info@polecatcommunications.com.

Pictured at right: “Pigfast” by J.J. Carroll

one year later: trumplings opens nov. 3

For Bart Vargas, waking up on Nov. 9, 2016, felt like living in an episode of “Black Mirror,” the sci-fi thriller on Netflix. The Omaha artist said he felt the need to express his emotions about the results of the U.S. presidential election and this new era of America’s collective history.

After more than 11 months of work, the result is “One Year Later: Trumplings,” which opens Friday, Nov. 3, at the little gallery. The exhibition and fundraiser will showcase more than 300 ceramic effigies of President Trump created by Vargas.

The three-dimensional works come in two versions: Trumplings – the president’s head on the body of a baby, and Twitter Twits – the president’s head on the body of a bird. The first Trumpling was cast on the day of Trump’s inauguration, and Vargas has committed to casting a piece every day while Trump is in office.

All gallery proceeds and a major portion of the artist’s commission from sales will benefit local nonprofits affected by President Trump’s administration, including Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.

“One Year Later: Trumplings” runs through Nov. 30. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday from 3:00 to 6:00pm, Saturdays from 10:00am to 1:00pm and by appointment. For more information, call 402.681.1901.

OBJECTS opens oct. 6


Jason Steady’s OBJECTS opens Friday, Oct. 6, at the little gallery. An opening reception is set for 6:00 to 9:00pm at 5901 Maple Street in beautiful downtown Benson. Below is a Q+A with the artist.

Q: When did you know you were going to be an artist?

I think I first thought of myself as an artist as a little kid, but life, school and people have a way of convincing you that it’s not a worthwhile pursuit. “Sure, you can be an artist, but what are you going to do for a living?” Despite making a living doing some sort of art in some sort of capacity for nearly 20 years now, I’m still not comfortable telling people I’m an artist. I usually just say I’m unemployed and making it work.

Q: Describe your process.

I’ll have a weird dream or a strange idea about an Object, an illustration or a concept, and then I just have to make it. When I don’t even have the right skills to make something happen, I either read up and do some research to learn a new skill or just wander the aisles at the hardware store looking for solutions and pieces to the puzzle. After that, I completely zone out and hope I have a cool Object and all my fingers when I’m done.

Q: Where do you find inspiration?

I love when someone comes to me wanting to know if something is even possible. Often, just wondering how to do something is inspiring enough. You know when a dog hears a weird sound and tilts its head to the side a little bit? Intrigued? I’m inspired by anything that makes me do that. Sounds, materials, tools, ideas, experiences. If it makes me tilt my head like a dog, I’ll run with it.

Q: Name the 3 most important things in your studio space.

I suppose tools and things are the most important, but I’ve had the same space for over 10 years and just installed adequate lighting this summer. Last winter, I installed a heater. Being able to see and not freeze to death are really very important, even compared to tools.

Q: What do you want others to know about you/your work?

Everything not discussed thus far should remain medium-mysterious to encourage people to come to the show and ask me a question or whatever.

OBJECTS runs through Oct. 28. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday from 3:00 to 6:00pm, Saturday from 10:00am to 1:00pm and by appointment. For more info, call 402.681.1901.

three part harmony opens aug. 4

Stoneware teapot by Lisa Kalentjakos

If there’s one artist in the family, chances are there may be others. Such is the case for longtime Omaha theatre and music educator Carole Waterman and daughters Lisa Kalentjakos and Marie Adams. The three will showcase their work at Benson’s little gallery in August with Three Part Harmony, an intertwining of painting, sculpture and other art objects. An opening reception is set for Friday, Aug. 4, from 6:00 to 9:00pm.

Several years ago, Waterman became interested in creating jewelry with recycled materials, which led her to “wanting to ‘bead’ the world.” After being offered the opportunity to study backstrap weaving in Guatemala, she began to consider the possibilities of weaving natural objects.

Daughter Lisa said if media were people, then clay would be her first love and painting her second. “Nothing comes out of me unless I have hours at my disposal and can dive into the process, losing sense of time and space,” Lisa said. “My background in music and dance seeps through an abstracted humanist element when I paint.”

The quote “life is art – paint your dreams” hangs on the wall of daughter Marie’s art studio, reminding her that each day is an act of creation. “That creativity for me has been expressed in family, home, flowers, food and even painting,” she said. “There is great joy in making your life a work of art.”

The little gallery, powered by Polecat Communications, is located at 5901 Maple Street in downtown Benson. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday from 3:00 to 6:00pm, Saturday from 10:00am to 1:00pm, the second Sunday of the month from 9:00am to 1:00pm and by appointment.

Three Part Harmony runs through Aug. 31. For more information, call 402.681.1901.

5 with myles dunigan

untitled (seasons in the abyss #1) 2017
18”x24”
$200

“Everything Always – Already Ends,” the work of visual artist and printmaker Myles Dunigan, opens Friday, July 7, at the little gallery in downtown Benson. A reception is set for 6:00 to 10:00pm. The exhibition coincides with the 2017 edition of Frogman’s Print Workshops, based at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Below is a Q&A with the artist.

Q: When did you know you were going to be an artist?

As long as I can recall. I was encouraged to draw as soon as I was able and have been amassing a library of sketchbooks ever since.

Q: Describe your process.

My process always begins with some sort of model, be it a small-scale construction in my studio or a space constructed digitally with 3D modeling software. I then choose a method of documentation, which is typically a combination of printmaking and photography. In my recent work, I have made use of laser-engraving to achieve this end, engraving photographic imagery into plywood or plexiglass that can then be printed on a traditional press. I am always seeking ways to trouble the relationships between information technologies and am constantly moving between digital and analogue techniques.

Q: Where do you find inspiration?

Much of my inspiration comes from landscape painting that emerged in western Europe and the Hudson River Valley in the 1800s. The works of Albert Bierstadt and John Martin are particularly influential for their depictions of a chaotic, sublime landscape. In addition to these historical influences, I also look toward the aesthetics of video games and other modes of experiencing digital spaces.

Q: Name the 3 most important things in your studio space.

My computer, my sketchbook and my tackle box full of intaglio tools.

Q: What do you want others to know about you/your work?

I want my audience to question the verity and authority that images possess. With the advent of fake news, the reality we know is more and more mediated by our digital experiences. I aim to craft other worlds that question how technology mitigates how we view nature.

Frogman’s began back in 1979 when Professor Lloyd Menard led five school teachers from Sioux City, Iowa, to the Black Hills of South Dakota for a drawing class. Prints were first introduced in 1981, and the workshops evolved into the Black Hills Print Symposium, which took place at various sites in western South Dakota. The Black Hills provided an amazingly beautiful backdrop, but by 1996, the workshops had outgrown the confines of the Hills and moved to Beresford, South Dakota, the home of Frogman’s Press & Gallery. The workshops would only spend two years based in Beresford before moving to the University of South Dakota in Vermillion. 2016 marked Frogman’s first year at UNO, where the Frogman took his first-ever print class more than 50 years ago.