Presence in the Pause: Interiority and its Radical Immanence / Jennifer Ling Datchuk: Eat Bitterness

Presence in the Pause: Interiority and its Radical Immanence / Jennifer Ling Datchuk: Eat Bitterness

Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts

May 18, 2023
Presence in the Pause: Interiority and its Radical Immanence
Jennifer Ling Datchuk: Eat Bitterness
May 20–September 17, 2023
Summer exhibitions opening: May 20, 3–6pm
Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts
724 S. 12th Street
Omaha, Nebraska 68102
United States
Hours: Wednesday–Sunday 11am–5pm,
Thursday 11am–9pm

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Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts presents two new exhibitions: Presence in the Pause: Interiority and its Radical Immanence and Jennifer Ling Datchuk: Eat Bitterness, on view May 20–September 17, 2023. Presence in the Pause brings together eleven female and non-binary artists who interpret the complex nature of daily life. Jennifer Ling Datchuk: Eat Bitterness is a solo exhibition of new and recent work focusing on her exploration of her personal identity as a woman, a Chinese woman, as an “American,” and as a third culture kid. Exhibitions are curated by Rachel Adams, Chief Curator and Director of Programs.

Presence in the Pause: Interiority and its Radical Immanence focuses on the complexity of our everyday relationships through portraits and domestic scenes that examine personhood, memories, and the speeding up and slowing down of contemporary life. Artists regularly spend long periods alone in their studios populated by materials, research, and the plethora of ideas, reveries, and worries swirling in their minds. Harmonizing these physical and cerebral conditions through painting, this exhibition highlights a group of artists who examine and celebrate ideas around interiority: spaces filled with memories, inner monologues that flit between representations of past, present, and future, or the visual expression of emotion.

All from the same micro-generation between Gen X and Millennial, they explore the expansiveness of interiority in their work. Exhibited together, their contrasting styles highlight the breadth of quotidian subject matter. Through disparate scale shifts, color palette, paint type, and canvas choice, each artist chronicles the intimate and immanent aspects of daily life, revealing how the nature of interiority is not simply personal, but potentially political as well. The artists highlight how, in the sometimes mundaneness of everyday life, domesticity, identity, and memory collide together to create an all-encompassing radical immanence.

Artists include: Mequitta Ahuja, Lilli Carré, Andrea Joyce Heimer, Kyoko Idetsu, Kathy Liao, Danielle McKinney, Maia Cruz Palileo, Molly Prentiss, Preetika Rajgariah, Celeste Rapone, and Becky Suss. In addition to visual works, the exhibition includes newly commissioned text by writer Molly Prentiss.

Jennifer Ling Datchuk: Eat Bitterness brings together works from 2019 to 2023 with several premiering at Bemis Center. Trained as a ceramicist, Datchuk primarily works with porcelain—a material that, for the artist, speaks to a dualistic nature of great fragility and resilience. This metaphor carries through her investigations of beauty, femininity, intersectionality, identity, girlhood, protest, and the global inequalities of labor. Through material culture, the history of craft, and by championing the handmade, she challenges the social, political, and cultural systems that continue to hold women back.

The exhibition’s title, Eat Bitterness, originates from a Chinese idiom about enduring hardships, even suffering, without complaint. Much of Datchuk’s work in the exhibition focuses on unrecognized and invisible Asian labor. Works in the exhibition also chart Datchuk’s ongoing interest in how women specifically embody time: the phases of the moon and the menstrual cycle, the exaggerated weight of waiting and quarantining, the slow growth of hair, the thresholds they cross and the unknown spaces they withstand, and the many “luck” objects they create to hold and use while hoping for a better future or circumstances. Braiding pain and perfection, these objects amplify female voices, reconstruct their identities, and celebrate their truths.

Summer lecture series
In conjunction with exhibitions, Bemis Center will host a series of lectures exploring the intersections between gender and our social, political, and cultural systems. Upcoming lecturers include: Lyz Lenz (June 7, 7pm), Anna Storti, PhD (June 22, 7pm), and Jenni Sorkin, PhD (July 27, 7pm). Lectures will be livestreamed. 

Gallery tour: Jennifer Ling Datchuk
Join artist Jennifer Ling Datchuk on June 22 at 6pm for a tour of Eat Bitterness followed by Anna Storti’s lecture.

Summer 2023 exhibitions are generously supported, in part, by Douglas County, Nebraska Arts Council, and Omaha Steaks. Additionally, Jennifer Ling Datchuk: Eat Bitterness is supported by Ruiz-Healy Art.

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Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts
May 18, 2023

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