"[Palmer] has always used pretty bold colors, but the colors now are brighter. And, she's also choosing that paint color that many artists really steer clear of working in a style as Cathy does of abstraction. And, that's white," says Behrens. "But, when you look at Cathy's you're not looking at blankness…"
"She was influenced by what's called the Vienna Dioscurides. What that was, was the oldest illustrated book of edible and medicinal plants in existance," says Behrens. "She felt like she needed to translate the drawings in the books into something new. And she drew using her sewing machine and thread and organza, these images of the plants."
"Kind of an unusual thing for us to show in terms of a series of paintings where the paintings themselves have had two different lives," says Behrens. "…[Gardner]'s probably going to keep trying to make all of the paintings that he has, as reflective of who he is at that moment as possible."
"Looking at these drawings it really feels like you are inside someplace looking through a window out onto the setting that she has drawn," says Behrens. "…She takes great care in making certain that virtually all tones available to her through the charcoal is in each drawing."
"His artworks are really accessible, they are combinations of nostalgia with a little bit of pop thrown in," says Behrens. "But, the more you start to look you recognize that there's a lot more detail than what your eyes first tell you…"
"The splatters came first and then the drawings came second but that allowed him to pick out just the right size building so that they are incorporated really well into the splatters and sometimes even the tire tracks," says Behrens. "It's a really unusual project and such a creative way to try to connect to where you are. Literally taking the stuff that is in many ways impacting your life at a certain time of the year and converting that into art."
"The expressions that each of these subjects has is natural. It's what we might otherwise, you know, read as blank. It allows us to continue that story with themselves because they're not expressing any strong emotion, they just leave everything up to the viewer," says Behrens. "And that's what really captivated us when we first encountered Kristine's photos and we're really delighted that we can bring these to Sioux City to show what great documentary photography can be".
"Some of the patterns that he creates will start to, I think trigger some things in your brain. And that is conscious on his part," says Behrens. "He recognizes that the complexity of his compositions will require you to really look hard."
"When you realize that it's two sides of the same structure then you start to understand it's more… about our depth", says Behrens. "…There's always another angle. And to see two angles at the same, it really helps solidify that multiple viewings, multiple encounters are required to really understand the complexity of any individual."
"…It's one of those amazing transformations that can happen in the hands of an artist where you take something that you think is just what it is but you're able to transform that into something that is so much more", says Behrens.
"Kaneko is based in Omaha, has been there for many many years and is probably the best known artist in Omaha," says Behrens. "And if you go to almost any public square or park in Omaha, you'll find his works, so this a piece that we are very proud to have in our collection."
"The paintings that Howe did, especially in the 1960s, when being a truly contemporary Native American artist was still a radical thing, you can see how his style his way of approaching his own heritage influenced then the next several generations of artists," says Behrens.
"Photography has been around for almost a hundred and eighty years, and even now there are still some people who fight against photography being an artform," says Behrens. "But, the painterly qualities that Michael Eastman is working towards without actually using paint, really clarifies that photograph in the hands of a very capable photographer can be as powerful an artform as anything else."
"It's a pretty small step sometimes to take something that is basic and make it something more meaningful," says Behrens. "And I think that's what Robert was doing in a painting like this, where he is taking things that are top of the mind and seeing if he can put them all together to make one cohesive thing out of it. And in Three Bean Salad, as weird as that sounds, he's actually done that."
"…It's just an extraordinary work of how the most simple objects around us, the most basic environmental landscapes you might imagine, holds much more beauty and diversity and life than you might otherwise appreciate," says Behrens
"Virtually every color you can imagine I think is in this painting. And what it does is it brings added attention to those few desserts that you can recognize, while creating this gigantic sense of a wild party going on within this four foot canvas," says Behrens.
"You end up with just this visual delight. Everything seems unified and connected and everything seems at the same time really varied and disparate and working with and against each other at the same time, all these different shapes and colors. And yet it works out as a very beautiful painting," says Behrens.
"There are so many different layers of paint that she uses, and that layering is very important to her…" says Behrens. "…This misty quality that she creates through all those layers, is part of that coming to grips with however close you might be to something… there's still going to be a distance that you can't quite get around. So, all of those different elements are things that she's often using as inspirations for the paintings."
"At any one view, you only get a partial glimpse of something. And so, as you move around the sculpture… you start to learn a little bit more about what's inside," says Behrens. "…It's basically a metaphor for coming up on anything or anyone who is new to you and you have to have different viewpoints, different angles to try to really find, as close as you can get, to a full understanding of what you're encountering."
"It's a sculpture that reminds us you can be an experienced artist and still find joy in what you're doing… it connects on many different levels with visitors who come in regardless of their art backgrounds," says Behrens.
"The inner part of the circle represents the "Solar", the exterior is the "Reef", and that's where [Langoussis] started to think about the fact that all of our life on Earth exists because of the sun…", says Behrens.
"…When you see this sculpture at this scale, unlike the sculpture outside, you can see some of [Dunbar's] great influences. He loves mechanics, he loves really finely tuned delicate machines, things like old watches and other instruments that have been with us for centuries…", says Behrens.
"…We're standing in the atrium looking at this, and at a different part of this same space we have a later sculpture that Ann made called Condemarr… [Condemarr] is much more representative of a horse, where as Don Quixote is more of a universal experience of riding with purpose and yet there is a lot of chaos going on… it takes a lot looking to get everything into your brain, but its well worth the attempt," says Behrens.
"You are going to be working within traditions, if you choose to be an artist," says Behrens. "… And it's up to you to find those traditions and understand how they may be relevant to you… [Bowitz] also understands the limitations of that, and that's why cutting to fit into his tree of knowledge is so important."
"So, this is a lithograph from 1950, but quite honestly it could have been one of the lithographs he would've produced during the 1930s," says Behrens as he talks about the consistency of Benton's style. "It has that same feel, that same commitment to elevating the lives and the struggles of the poor people and the working people."
"Gate is a really good example of how Terri works. What she's able to see beyond a predictable, mundane subject… the beauty in the colors that are possible through that scene and that's something that is really important in Gate," says Behrens as he takes us deep into Gate.
"A relief etching is something that virtually nobody does. What [Phillip Chen] has done is effectively remove the ink to give us the image," says Behrens. "So you're looking at… the paper coming through from beneath this layer of ink."
"In the back of our minds we're thinking, this is something that was created out of two things that neither of which had any special meaning for the artist and a complete mystery for us," says Behrens. "[Alex Brown] taking on something so digital and so conceptual, but coming out with a really beautiful end product."
Jerry Uelsmann is a master of the darkroom who, before the creation of image editing software, saw the possibilities of combining photographic images from separate exposures into a single, seamless composition. Because of his deftness, when we look at his images from a context where digital editing is expected, we still feel a sense of awe and wonder.