bill hoover’s “lost and found and lost” opens nov. 1

The little gallery is pleased to host Bill Hoover’s “Lost and Found and Lost” during the month of November. The opening reception is Friday, Nov. 1, from 6:00 to 9:00pm in conjunction with Benson First Friday.

Hoover has been making art and music in Nebraska for more than 25 years. Encouraged by a mentor in 1993, he began exhibiting his childlike oil-based crayon drawings in Associated Artists of Omaha exhibitions and at The Radial Cafe. Years later, Hoover’s paintings are highly sought after by collectors in Omaha and around the United States. His style has matured and deepened, evolving into a complex and layered vocabulary of narrative and symbolism.

“Lost and Found” explores the losses we experience using collage, paper sculpture, found scraps of paper and 30-year-old letters. It runs through Nov. 30.

The little gallery is powered by Polecat Communications. Hours are Tuesday through Friday from 3:00 to 6:00pm, Saturday from 10:00am to 1:00pm + by appointment. For more information, call 402.681.1901.

the little gallery to represent john stillmunks

john stillmunks | robbing a thief | copyright 2019 | mixed media

18x24x1.5 | cradled wood panel | $800


BENSON – The little gallery is pleased to announce its representation of John Stillmunks.

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, and he’s currently showing some small sculptures at Artistic Indulgence in Minneapolis.

Stillmunks recently returned to Omaha and established his studio at Bench. 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.

Stillmunks will show at the little gallery in March 2020. 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. Hours are Tuesday through Friday from 3 to 6pm, Saturday from 10am to 1pm and by appointment. For more information, call 402.681.1901 or email info@polecatcommunications.com.

CARTÓN | john muñoz opens oct. 4

The little gallery is pleased to host CARTÓN by John D. Muñoz during the month of October. The opening reception is Friday, Oct. 4, from 6:00 to 9:00pm in conjunction with Benson First Friday.

Muñoz was born in Boston, raised in Puerto Rico and currently lives in Omaha. His cardboard series is the result of images he sees in the shapes and random lines he draws. It’s during the process of adding color that he gets a sense of what the finished work will be.

“Art, for me, has served as a way to communicate my interpretation of the human experience,” Muñoz said.

CARTÓN runs through Oct. 26.

The little gallery is powered by Polecat Communications. Hours are Tuesday through Friday from 3:00 to 6:00pm, Saturday from 10:00am to 1:00pm + by appointment. For more information, call 402.681.1901.

robert klein engler memorial show opens sept. 6

BENSON – The little gallery is pleased to host the work of the late Robert Klein Engler, writer and artist, during the month of September. The opening reception is Friday, Sept. 6, from 6:00 to 9:00pm at 5901 Maple Street in conjunction with Benson First Friday.

Mr. Engler held degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana and the University of Chicago Divinity School. He received Illinois Arts Council awards for his poetry. Many of his poems, stories, and paintings are set in New Orleans.

The Omaha writer and artist was an active volunteer. He helped organize a committee to maintain the stained glass windows at St. Mary Magdalene Church in downtown Omaha. The artist’s proceeds will benefit that fund.

The exhibition runs through Sept. 28 at the little gallery. Regular hours are Tuesday through Friday from 3:00 to 6:00pm, Saturday from 10am to 1:00pm and by appointment. For more information, call 402.681.1901.

submissions sought for 5th annual little show

BENSON – Hey, local artists – we’re currently seeking submissions for the fifth annual little show, which opens Friday, Dec. 6, at the little gallery. 

All submitted works must be 12 by 12 inches (or smaller) and retail for $100 or less. The registration deadline is Friday, Nov. 1. Please email your intent to submit to info@polecatcommunications.com by that date and include:

  • Your name
  • Your contact information
  • Your medium

The entry fee is $5 per submitted piece. All work must be dropped off at the little gallery the week of Nov. 25 – no exceptions.

Questions? Contact us at 402.681.1901 or info@polecatcommunications.com.

Happy creating!

5 with shawnequa linder

Shawnequa Linder’s “Remixing: An Experimental Portrait Series” opens Friday, Aug. 2, at the little gallery, 5901 Maple Street in downtown Benson. The reception, which is free and open to the public, runs from 6:00 to 9:00pm in conjunction with Benson First Friday.

The Omaha artist has exhibited at Omaha’s RNG Gallery, Hot Shops Art Center, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts and MONA, among other venues. She also has been featured in The Reader and The Encounter magazine.

Get to know Linder via the little gallery’s “5 with” series.

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

It wasn’t until probably around 2003 when my friend, Wanda Ewing, asked me to do the “Crazy Eights” slide jam at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. I had no idea what I was doing because I didn’t think at that time that I was an artist, but she saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. So I started hanging out with all these cool artists who thought I was an artist. Since then, I finally allowed myself to think of myself as an artist because I was growing into one.

Describe your process.

My subject matter is movement, texture and color, whether it’s applied in a nontraditional landscape or portraits. The work explores the varying relationships between pop culture and fine art.  

Name the 3 most important things in your studio space.

  • My SpongeBob coffee cup
  • My Art Fundamentals book
  • All my paints

Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration pretty much everywhere, from a nature walk or attending an art show or just eating food, LOL. But make sure you have a pen to write out the idea because it will fade away like a morning dream.

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

I have met so many incredible and interesting people since I started my art journey, and I’m hoping to continue sharing my gifts for the world to see.

“Remixing: An Experimental Portrait Series” runs through Aug. 31 at the little gallery. Regular hours are Tuesday-Friday from 3:00pm to 6:00pm, Saturday from 10:00am to 1:00pm and by appointment. For more information, call 402.681.1901.

5th annual running of the indie july 28

BENSON – The Indie, north Omaha’s premier road race, will celebrate its fifth birthday Sunday, July 28, in conjunction with Benson Days 2019. The event, hosted by the Benson Neighborhood Association, is presented by 1912. Proceeds from this year’s race will benefit Citylight Arts Project, an arts nonprofit that seeks to grow the Benson renaissance through empowering the next generation of creatives.

Online registration for the 10K and 5K races, considered to be among the region’s most challenging courses due to the neighborhood’s hilly terrain, ends July 24 at noon at www.theindieomaha.org/registration. The cost is $30 per solo artist (individual runner) and $25 per band (team member). A band is five or more members. For those who miss the online deadline, cash-only registration is available:

  • Thursday, July 25, from 4:00 to 7:00pm at 1912, 6201 Maple Street
  • Saturday, July 27, during the Benson Days Street Festival at the 1912 booth
  • Sunday, July 28, at race headquarters from 7:00 to 7:30am

Activities will get under way at 8:00am July 28 at race headquarters, located at 6201 Maple Street in downtown Benson. New this year is birthday cake at the finish line and 2019 race T-shirt sales at race headquarters. Boone, the official mascot of The Indie, will preside over race day activities. Block 59 Design Group in downtown Benson is the 2019 official mascot sponsor.

The public is encouraged to line the race routes and cheer runners along the way. Race organizers have named the top 3 hills in the race:

  • Mount Evee, named after the winner of the inaugural Indie Pet Parade held last month, is located at 60th and Grant streets. Mount Evee is sponsored by the little gallery | benson.
  • Mount Erastus, located at 56th and Grant streets, is sponsored by Benson Law Center.
  • Mount Benson, located at 53rd and Pratt streets, is sponsored by Premier Physical Therapy.

A free 100-yard kids’ dash will follow the completion of the 10K and 5K races. There is no need to register, and participant prizes will be awarded while they last.

The after party will take place high above Benson on 1912’s rooftop deck. The prize pack includes:

  • Gold records for the overall 10K male and female winners as well as $100 cash
  • Gold records for the overall 5K male and female winners as well as $100 cash
  • $50 cash for the youngest runner
  • 5 $25 gift cards from 1912 to the team with the best time
  • A Benson Brewery draw glass to the winners in each age category

Allstate Insurance Company/Azizi & Associates Inc. is the 2019 cash sponsor of The Indie.

For more information, contact The Indie at 402.681.1901 or info@theindieomaha.org.

5 with jun lee

verdant prohibition speakeasy | woodcut | 43 by 64 inches | 2017

Jun Lee’s “Competition Contemplation” opens Friday, July 5, at the little gallery, 5901 Maple Street. Get to know her via our “5 with” series.

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

As long as I remember, but my mom said it started when I was three years old. I asked her to draw me a snail, but she was stuck for a second. Then I took the crayon and paper from her and drew her snails. In her opinion, it was a good snail drawing for a three-year-old. From that snail drawing, I started saying I want to be an artist when I grew up.

Q: Describe your process. 

For the woodblock, I use 3/4” cherry veneer plywood. Before I start drawing, I check for any gaps or rough areas on the block. Once I have filled in any gaps with wood filler, I sand the block with 300, 400 and 600 grit to make the surface of the block very smooth. When the sanding is completed, I draw directly on the block in pencil. After the pencil drawing is finalized, I use black permanent Sharpie markers and color Sharpie markers to mark the outline and the color layers. I then spray shellac evenly on the block so I can seal the Sharpie to prevent bleeding when I print and facilitate cleaning between layers. When the shellac has dried, I finish the block with one more round of sanding with 600 grit, then I carve the area that will be white in the image. I use Futatsu Wari Moku Hanga, Pfeil and Powergrip for carving tools.

In a reduction woodcut, a single block is used for a multi-color print, and it usually begins with the lightest color and progresses to the darkest layer, which is the key image. After I finish carving the white layer, I print the first color layer, the lightest color. After printing the first layer, I clean and dry the block overnight. I then carve out the area of the previous layer on the block so it’s ready to print the second layer. This is why the process is called a reduction woodcut, because you carve the block progressively as you print the layers in order and reduce the printed area with each layer. Once you finish with the block, you cannot reprint the block because the block has been carved out and is only left with the key image. I print with Gamblin Relief ink and Cranfield Relief ink.

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

  • Printing press and large table surface.
  • My tool box. My carving tools, “lucky egg”, tape, markers and other materials are all in it. I work between the printshop and my home, so I have to have my tool box with me.
  • My printmaking “lucky charm”, a Gudetama lazy egg doll. It’s in my tool box so I won’t forget it wherever I go for a residency or to teach classes, whenever I carve or print. It started as a joke, but it’s been working as a lucky charm, so I don’t print without it.

Q: Where do you find inspiration?

The memories from my childhood, books and current events. Most of my work is about competition, so I draw inspiration from memories from my past and how I view them through the lens of my current experience. I also take examples of competition from news stories and apply them to the general themes I use in my work. I like to focus on more personal stories versus larger issues because I feel this makes the issues surrounding competition more relatable to the individual viewer of my work.

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

How I found printmaking was an accident. I majored in illustration for undergrad, and I was very happy with the choice of my major. It was my senior year, and my goal was to spend most of my time on my senior thesis project. I needed one elective studio credit and didn’t want to retake the same studio classes I took previously. My studio mate recommended that I take a printmaking course. I had never taken a printmaking course, so I signed up for lithography and screenprinting. At first, I really disliked the process. It took so much work and time for processing one layer, and we didn’t even have one single layer on the paper yet. But when I pulled the first print off of my first stone, it was like nothing I had ever done before. It totally got me hooked, and I’ve been on the printmaking road since then.   

competition contemplation | jun lee opens july 5

the burden trophy | 6 layers reduction woodcut, 2018 | 30 by 42 inches | $2,500

BENSON – The little gallery is pleased to host “Competition Contemplation” by Jun Lee during the month of July in conjunction with the 2019 Frogman’s Print Workshops. The opening reception is Friday, July 5, from 7:30 to 10:30pm at 5901 Maple Street.

Lee, a printmaker from Falls Church, VA, works in large format woodcut using animals as metaphors to convey competition in our daily lives. She currently serves as the printmaking artist in residence at the Lee Arts Center in Arlington, VA, where she has focused on large-scale woodcuts and screenprints.

Lee attended the Minneapolis College of Art & Design, where she earned a BFA in illustration in 2002 and a post baccalaureate in printmaking in 2004. In 2007, she received her MFA in print media from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, MI. 

Lee was awarded the 2018-19 DC Art Bank grant by the Government of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and was one of the semifinalists for the 2018 Sondheim Artscape Prize (Baltimore, MD). Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Below is her artist statement.

My body of work attempts to evoke the different moments of our competitive lives; pieces that express the spectrum of competition from hiding away to preparing for a fight. The reality is that all life is competition, and we create barriers in our minds that allow us to think we have a space we can step into where the competition stops. That constructed space allows us to regroup and enter the next fight toward our goal. Every attempt might not succeed or look glorious, but every victory is built upon the foundation of loss, suffering, effort and sacrifice. The ability to be successful is not dependent on the number of triumphs you have but rather your willingness to get up and continue the struggle after a defeat.

I grew up in Seoul, South Korea. When I was in first grade, there was a man who sold chicks outside of my school. They were so cute and appealing I had no choice but to buy one. I prepared my chick a bed and some food, but it passed away within a week. I did not know why it died and cried for days. Over time, I purchased several more chicks, but none survived longer than a month. After that, I promised myself I would never get a chick again.

This unforgettable childhood memory has been my obsession and inspiration for quite some time and made me realize the inescapable truth of life – that competition always surrounds us. All the chicks were equally cute, desirable and wanted to get picked so they could come out of the box, even though they knew nothing of the challenges that waited for them. This mirrors our own development as people; during childhood, we want nothing more than to become adults without knowing all it entails, yet once we become adults, we seek ways to cope with the constant pressure of competition that surrounds us. My work uses the chick as a metaphor of desire and fear in this competitive thing called life; a rooster symbolizes a winner or a loser, but one that can anticipate the demands of the fight. The rooster still has fear in his eyes, but hides the fear with his vicious comb, fearless feet and exotic feathers. Every time he walks into the fight ring, he stands with pride and holds his head high. I used to see myself as a chick, lost but still fighting. Now, this chick has finally gotten what it wished for – to be a rooster, the last fighter standing.

The exhibition runs through July 27. The little gallery is powered by Polecat Communications. 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.