The Field, The Fire: An Exhibition by Travis Hencey

The Field, The Fire: An Exhibition by Travis Hencey

@Burlington Depot
June 18, 2024 to August 15, 2024

Travis Hencey's work may be familiar to regular attendees of our gallery exhibitions. Since 2013, he's been a contributor to our invitational exhibitions, exhibiting work that featured collaged paper and graphite drawings that drew on Cather's featured novels in those years. Simultaneously familiar and fresh, these works featured aged paper and book components in new compositions, punctuated by Hencey's drawings in graphite.

"The Field, The Fire" is a solo exhibition to be held in conjunction with the 69th annual Willa Cather Spring Conference. The conference, Cather and the Readerly Imagination, will focus on Cather's own books and reading habits, as well as her attention to the content and appearance of the books she created. The ideas of Cather as both reader and writer and her books as both story and substance seem a natural fit with Hencey's work.

In this special exhibition, Hencey will display twenty pieces of his work and join us for a reception on Friday, June 7, 2024, at 5:00 p.m. at the historic Burlington Depot. Though this event is part of the Willa Cather Spring Conference, the exhibition and artist reception are free and open to the public.


Travis Hencey was born and raised in Chadron, Nebraska, a small town in the northwestern panhandle of the state. In elementary school, Travis discovered an early interest in creative endeavors: building with LEGO, drawing cartoons, constructing model cars, and making books. This hobby grew into a serious
passion that lead him to pursue studies in humanities and studio art at Chadron State College from 2005 to 2009, where he developed a love for drawing and
traditional materials.

After college, Travis began working in the technology and design realms, using his creative sensibilities to solve problems. He returned to his studies at Chadron State College in 2014 to explore teaching and to refocus on visual arts. Travis is currently teaching Art & Design at Chadron High School,
bringing up the next generation of Chadron artists.

Generally, Travis's work deals with themes of transience, memory, and family history in the Western Nebraska landscape with an eye toward materiality and

Artist Statement

"We are really out here. This must be the place. Northwest Nebraska's open skies, with the wind, the dust, the light, the snow, the field, the fire...
Here, the horizons and dry grasses make you look longer; they test you. Wait.

There is something in those subtle shifts of light. Maybe its just nothing.
Many of these small artworks were produced through a cyclical process of composing, ripping up, rebuilding, recomposing, ripping, repeating. 

Sometimes with thoughtful intent and sometimes at a loss with the chaos of it all. My art is a persistent reflection on living life in one place. The place of my parents, the place of my grandparents. Born, raised, remembered, retold. The Sunday dinner table. The high school halls. Again and again. Each scrap of paper, each erasure is a memory of old stories, composed and recomposed like the landscape when it meets the will of the sky."