'Nobodies' show in McClelland Art Gallery

Art isn't about fame or fortune. That's the message of The Nobodies 2010 Art Collective, an exhibition in the McClelland Art Gallery running from Feb. 15-24. Reprising of a show last year by Abner Aguilar and Chris Smith, this year they are joined by Bob Fraser, Ed Mejia, and Scott Cushman. 

The five participants are all Union alumni, with the exception of Smith who teaches writing classes at the college. "It's just a group of guys showing what we love to do, what's inside us," said Aguilar. "I guess if we ever get famous, we'll have to change the title."

The collection is very eclectic, with the artists showing distinctive voices in mediums ranging from paint and ink to collage and photography. They are unified more by when they are made (often after work) and why they are made (to release pent up stress or ideas) than any visible features. "Often times I come home and I make a collage or I doodle," Fraser said. "These pieces are spontaneous. I don't have the patience to paint, draw or make highly calculated art. My life moves too fast to stop, think, plan, draft and then finally execute."

For a similar reason, Smith is obsessed with absence and empty space. "Not all of my work has much open space, but my favorites tend to be very empty," Smith said. "Perhaps that says something about what I am, what I like, and what I need out of life: quiet."

According to Cushman, whose works are drawn after getting home from his job at the college, the show's title reflects the release art provides. "We all have day jobs where we have to be somebody," Cushman said. "Being 'The Nobodies' is very liberating. There are no expectations of medium, message or even skill. This is work we do when there's no one around to impress. It's like Emily Dickenson wrote, '... how dreary to be somebody!'" 

The McClelland Art Gallery is in the Ortner Center on the Union College campus, 3800 S. 48th Street. Enter the campus from Prescott Avenue. The art gallery is free to the public and open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, contact the Ortner Center at 402.486.2545.