Sum of Us at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha

Sum of Us examines the relationship of the part to the whole through the work of six Kansas City artists. From 30 January – 28 June, this exhibition at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts will use sculpture, photography, drawing, and many other mediums to interrogate our human status as singular beings that constantly interact with others and belong to a wider collective.

Key themes in this investigation into our whole and fragmentary states are our relationships with time, space, place and self. Marcie Miller Gross is one of the artists looking at the relationship of repetition and scale. Her unusual form of sculpture involves building up layers of pliable, utilitarian materials such as industrial felt to create large scale objects made up of many smaller parts. Similarly, Shawn Bitters’s shredded paper installations representing mountainous landscapes demonstrate the fragile constitution of seemingly sturdy objects.

This accumulative process is further addressed by the work of Marcus Cain and Kelly John Clark. Ambiguous landscapes and ephemeral objects depict natural phenomena and energy through ghostly figures and pale drawings. These pieces attempt to capture what surrounds us and builds up our sensory experience of the natural world. Other pieces in the collection examine the spectre of the human body, presenting it as image, inspiration or character which moves through the world as a ghostly presence.

A spiritual and psychological exploration is at the root of Sum of Us. The art on display provides a contemplative and reflective space in which visitors can question their own status as a part of the whole. The exhibition aims to display work that challenges both the artists and the public and sparks critical debate as a result.

Sum of Us, 30 January – 28 June, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, 724 South 12th Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68102, USA. For more information visit

1. Miki Baird, courtesy of the artist and Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts.