The next big-ticket item on our tour of the on-site murals is this enormous canvas by Nebraskan Watie White. We met Watie through our co-curator at Stockyard Institute, Jim Duignan. Jim had been in regular contact with Watie regarding an artistic conduit between us in Chicago and him in Omaha. Watie came in for about a week to hand-paint a canvas depicting the train lines that run from Nebraska all the way to the Chicago stockyards. “Common Ground” stands about nine feet tall and 22 feet wide, and is full of a mix of impressionistic brush strokes and offset realism that are a hallmark of some of his major works.
Watie has truly flourished in the decade since we last met, making larger than life wood cut murals and other public works representing the fine people of his fair city and others. As part of his “Chicago Project”, the mural at Nomadic Studio was a connector to the giant-scale portraits that defined the exhibits.
We were lucky to have “Common Ground” with us for the duration of the exhibit. It dominated the back wall of our SITE office, where we worked on, documented, and designed the content that came in through the Studio. I always like see what Watie is up to, as his oversized grey-scale paintings always have a sense of both authority and humanity.