International exhibitions Michael Jones McKean, The Rainbow, Bemis Center, Omaha

International 2012 Archives

Michael Jones McKean, The Rainbow
Bemis Center, Omaha (USA)

01.06 - 15.09.2012

07.09 - 25.11.2012

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Art-Agenda press release

Michael Jones McKean's The Rainbow: Certain Principles of Light and Shapes Between Forms creates a simple but phenomenal visual event—a rainbow in the sky. The public artwork will produce temporary rainbows above the Bemis Center using the most elemental materials: sunlight and rainwater. Twice per day with clear sun, for 20 minutes each, a rainbow will appear above Bemis Center's downtown building.

This commissioned artwork and exhibition represents extensive cross-disciplinary collaboration. Irrigation and rainwater harvesting experts from Omaha-based Lindsay Corporation and Watertronics, structural and mechanical engineers, atmospheric scientists, plumbing and electrical experts have joined McKean in creating a wholly integrated system for this site-specific work. McKean's work will amplify the placeless, celebratory, seductive, and elusive qualities of the spectacular event of a rainbow.

Leading up to the exhibition, extensive modifications to the Bemis Center's five-story, repurposed industrial warehouse took place—creating a completely self-contained water harvesting and large-scale storage system. Throughout the project cycle, collected and recaptured storm water will be filtered and stored in six above-ground, 10,500 gallon water tanks. Within the gallery, a custom designed 60-horsepower pump supplies pressurized water to nine nozzles mounted to the 20,000 square foot roof of the Bemis Center. In the morning and early evening, a dense water-wall will be projected above the building in which a rainbow will emerge. Based on atmospheric conditions, vantage point, available sunlight and the changing angle of the sun in the sky, each rainbow will have a singular character and quality—one could see the rainbow from a thousand feet away or seemingly touch it with your hand.

A rainbow operates as an egalitarian visual experience. It is by nature temporary, undetermined, and wonderful. The Rainbow exists somewhere between real and representation, actual and artifice. McKean is deeply interested in the rainbow as a complex form—ephemeral and steeped in mythology—that possesses an out-of-time existence as pure optical phenomena. The image of a rainbow extends through time, surpassing our known and archived histories, and operates as a constant unchanged form. Although the symbol of a rainbow has been co-opted, politicized, branded, and commodified, an actual prismatic rainbow still has an ability to jolt us from the everyday. It feels hopeful, yearning, optimistic, ghost-like, and meaningful.

The Rainbow is a work of significant logistical complexity that realizes a silent, delicate, and temporary visual experience. The work provides a direct and momentous experience of art, science, ecology, and wonder.

The Rainbow: Certain Principles of Light and Shapes Between Forms is curated by Hesse McGraw, Bemis Center chief curator.

Exhibition June 1 - September 15, 2012. Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, 724 S 12th Street - Omaha Nebraska 68102. T. 402 341 7130.

© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2012. All Rights Reserved

Michael Jones McKean, The Rainbow, 2011 (test)

Michael Jones McKean, The Rainbow, 2011 (test)