The new printmaking exhibition “Nesting” by Nathan Abel tells the story of the artist and his wife through infertility, child loss, and adoption.
“I want to show the hardships and joy that can come with creating a family and honor the experience we and so many others have been through,” he wrote in his artist statement. Abel teaches art at Natrona County High School, and his work has been included in regional, national, and international exhibitions.
Everyone is welcome to a complimentary opening reception 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday, February 3, with the artist. “Nesting” is the latest among seven news exhibitions at the Nic.
You can find works by more than 50 local artists in three group shows on display and solo shows from local to international artists. As always, most of the art in the galleries is for sale. Stop by the front desk or gift shop for prices, which start at less than $100 for some works.
Below is a bit on “Nesting” and our other current shows. For more information, visit thenic.org.
“Nesting” by Nathan Abel
On display through June 30
The etching “Secrets with the Moon” illustrates a memory of when Abel’s firstborn son, then 3, stood in their backyard and whispered to the full moon to look after his little brother, who was born prematurely and passed away.
Though Abel’s work tends to be autobiographical, such a direct illustration differs from his other work. But the artist had to create one work to work through his grief, he said in his artist statement. The print also documents his firstborn’s way of processing that his brother “may not be physically present but will always be part of our lives.”
Long-recurring imagery of nests in Abel’s art represents home and sanctuary, and this continues in “Nesting,” where nests specifically signify a womb and incubator in the NICU. Birds symbolize his three children, according to his artist’s statement.
Another print in the exhibition is a meditation on the 134 days his firstborn spent in the NICU after he was born at 25 weeks. In “Farewell Little Bird: Forever in My Heart,” one bird is perched on a branch while another flies away. “Bird of Another Color (Adoption)” tells of the arrival of their youngest son.
The prints in “Nesting” are layered with mixed media, like gouache and graphite. Some even include text in the form of journal-like free-writing on paper he tea-stained.
“And that’s part of the reason I love printmaking, is it’s the process,” the artist said. “It slows me down and makes me reflect and meditate on what I’m working through or going through…”
On display through March 15
The Nic hosts “GROUNDED” along the exhibition’s tour through Wyoming and stops across the US, UK and Middle East. The exhibition features art by 15 premier and emerging contemporary artists from Indigenous American tribes traditionally based in and around the Great Plains region, according to the exhibition description available at thenic.org. Among these artists is Northern Arapaho artist Robert Martinez, who curated the show.
The artists seek “to inspire our imaginations about our need to be ‘grounded’ in our relationship with all of creation: the earth and its wildlife, each other and ourselves,” according to the description. “It is critical for the health and survival of our planet, that we acknowledge and honor our intricate connection to the earth as our sustainer, to the wisdom of our ancestors, and to humanityʼs need of each other. Our world itself is calling for a realignment of a sacred harmony and an awareness of a new balance between ourselves and the earth, and with all of life upon it.”
EJÉRCICIOS PARA HABITARME / EXERCISE TO LIVE: MARIA MERCADO
On display through March 31
Argentina native Maria Cristina Mercado is a professor of painting and sculpture at the University of Guadalajara, and she also teaches young people with special needs, according to the Nicolaysen Art Museum’s Facebook page.
Her exhibition features drawings and creative use of yarn and embroidery. She even painted a mural on the gallery walls. You can spot another mural she created last summer on the west side of the museum exterior.
“María’s research and work lie between art and education, and she believes teaching and artistic production from the community is the essential aspect of her job,” according to her exhibition description at thenic.org. “In her work, we can find an emphasis on the poetic, with a singular vision of her experience, culture, the fantastic, and the spiritual. These themes are always linked to her passage through the world as an observer of her life with others.”
CREATE, CRITIQUE, AND COMPLETE- A CRITICAL VIEW OF ART: JUST PAINT
On display through June 30
Just Paint is a group of local artists who meet monthly to share suggestions and “critique,” according to thenic.org.
Each member brings a few paintings for the group to analyze. “Critiques are not necessarily negative but are suggestions for improvement,” according to the description. “We use the elements and principles of art during our discussions. We share a passion for producing and exhibiting our work which includes a variety of subjects, media, and styles.”
The members are Nancy Geldien, Barbara C. Kuxhausen, Skip Larcom, Michele McDonald and Dave Sneesby.
CASPER ARTISTS’ COLLECTIVE MEMBERS EXHIBITION: ELEMENTS / MINIATURES
On display through June 30
The Casper Artists’ Collective show features about 30 local artists who’ve created a wide variety of art ranging from paintings to resin-casting. The group’s activities include sharing ideas, workshops and exhibiting their work. You can find out more at casperartistscollective.com.
CASPER PHOTOGRAPHY ASSOCIATION
On display through April 19
The Casper Photography Association’s members include professional, amateur, hobbyist and beginning photographers who use all types of cameras: digital, film, point and shoot and even cell phone cameras. “The Association is dedicated to providing opportunities for area photographers to learn, network and enjoy a variety of events and field trips designed to maximize both the enjoyment and craft of photography,” according to the description at thenic.org. You can find out more about the association at
GAIL SCHENFISCH: CANVAS PANOPLY
Through March 31
Gail Schenfisch’s is a teacher by profession and began creating art about six years ago.
“On the first day of classes each year, I meet my new students as unrevealed canvases of all shapes and sizes ready for my instruction and guidance. Over the course of a year, I watch students grow and develop their skills and talents,” she wrote in her artists statement.
When she first started painting, the white canvas “was an exciting but daunting sight. I now eagerly await the progression of each new painting as the canvas transforms and grows into something distinct and colorfully different than when I began. This collection of paintings is a panoply of my canvases. I hope they inspire you to grow and develop and in some way transform you.”