2013 Carver Bank Residents Exhibition
May 30 – August 16, 2014
Location: Carver Bank | 2416 Lake Street
North Omaha is in the middle of an important cultural resurgence and the inaugural Artists-in-Residence at Carver Bank are working at the heart of the endeavor. Taken collectively, visual artist Bart Vargas, musicians Dereck Higgins and Shannon Marie and poet Portia Love provide an opportunity to understand larger changes taking place in the community. Each of these artists work within artistic traditions that have existed in and around North Omaha for decades, but now are doing so in ways that bring fresh vitality and connection to the concerns of the present day.
The work of these four artists provide an ongoing opportunity to explore the creative impulse in North Omaha in the early part of the twenty first century.
2013 Carver Bank Residents Exhibition Artists:
Dereck Higgins is a well-recognized bassist in prominent Omaha-based bands. Since the 1970s, he has been involved in a variety of bands and musical styles, including rock, jazz, punk, electronic and funk. His current musical projects include InDreama—an experiment in psychedelic soundscapes, pop music and visual performance — and Rikk Agnew Fiasco, Paddy O’Furniture and Cleemann. His former bands include Norman & the Rockwells, Digital Sex, RAF, Disco Ranch and Son Ambulance. Higgins has performed throughout the USA, Europe and Japan and has appeared with artists such as REM, The Dead Kennedys, Weird Al Yankovic, Melt Banana and Laraaji. In 2004 Higgins launched his own record label, DVH Recordings and has released four titles to a small, worldwide fan base. Artwork for the label features Higgin’s collage art. He has also worked in wardrobe creation and supervision for films including “Lovely, Still,” “April Showers” and “The Scientist.”
Portia Vivienne Love teaches writing workshops to children, teens, adults and seniors for the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, WhyArts?, Girls Inc., Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands, Metropolitan Community College, University of Nebraska at Omaha and the Joslyn Art Museum. She was awarded a grant by the Nebraska Arts Council to publish the poetry book “Eclipses of the Sun” and has also published numerous poems in The Omaha Star, Alzheimer’s Association of the Midlands Caregiver newsletter and Creighton University’s Shadows Magazine. Her short story, “Stories My Grandmother Told Me,” won an award from Creighton University. She is the owner of Just Write 4 Me, which features poems made into works of visual art. Love sang with her father’s band for over 10 years and continues to sing throughout the Omaha area. She was born in Omaha, Nebraska.
Shannon Marie is a hip-hop and R&B artist who has gained thousands of fans from her live performances, music videos, features, mixtape and EP. She was a natural entertainer at a young age and has evolved into a versatile musician who excels at rapping, singing, performing and writing. The content of her lyrics often focuses on female independence, determination, relationships and braggadocio. Marie’s work is recognized for its addictive hooks, crowd-moving performances, and rhythmic and creative punch lines. Her music has been played internationally with fan bases in Germany, China and Africa. Marie has opened for numerous artists such as Lil’ Kim, Bow Wow, Wale, and Kirko Bangz. A self-taught artist who is influenced by Missy Elliott and Ester Dean, she has been compared to Nicki Minaj and Rasheeda.
Bart Vargas explores the artistic potential of trash and recyclable materials to build paintings, sculptures and installations that blur the identity of these everyday materials, transforming them into playful, thought-provoking objects. He has exhibited internationally, and his work can be found in many collections throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. Vargas’s works have been featured in national publications, and he received a 2010 Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award from the International Sculpture Center. The artist has also participated in the 2010 Beijing International Art Biennale (BIAB), as well as the 2012 Santorini Biennale of Arts in Santorini, Greece. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a Master of Fine Art at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.
Carver Bank is a project developed by Theaster Gates – Chicago-based artist, cultural planner and performer – with the Bemis Center for Contemporary arts and was supported by ArtPlace America. Additional support was provided by The Sherwood Foundation, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation’s Artistic Innovation and Collaboration Program, the City of Omaha, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Bemis Center Board members.