Photo: Ferguson poses by her sculpture “Willy Nilly 2,” part of a corporate collection in Lincoln, Neb. (Photo by James Scholz)
Since her graduation from Creighton University in 1965, Catherine Ferguson has achieved renown as a sculptor, artist and stage designer.
From her studio at 26th and Leavenworth streets in Omaha, her sweeping set designs have captured the flavor of Ancient Egypt for Opera Omaha’s production of Verdi’s “Aida,” her sculptures and other works have found homes as diverse as Lincoln’s Sheldon Memorial Art Museum, the Museum of Nebraska Art in Kearney, Neb., and the Walmart Plaza at 168th and Harrison streets in Omaha, and her installation art has been praised by prominent art journals as highly imaginative forms of theater that combine sacred elements and a sense of the divine to quietly bring viewers to a metaphorical awakening.
It is a litany of praise, expressed in the elevated language of art criticism, which reflects the popular appeal of Ferguson’s work, and her commitment to finding beauty in the ordinary through an artistic range that encompasses sculpture, drawings, set design, video and sound.
Her works are found in private and public collections across the region.
“Totem,” a 26-foot-tall sculpture depicting the mythological animals immortalized by the prehistoric peoples of North America, stands at the west side Omaha’s W. Dale Clark Library, while “Sky Fin,” at the CenturyLink Center Omaha depicts the human fantasies of flying and swimming under water, unassisted.
An eight-foot-tall sculpture depicting such everyday items as a coffee cup and a tea kettle appropriately decorates a plaza outside the Walmart Neighborhood Market, a popular addition to the public art scene.
Ferguson, who maintains a website at catherineferguson.com, said she believes art should provide both the artist and the viewer with an experience of being “unexpectedly awestruck,” and discovering the intangible through the tangible.
“My challenge is to find beauty in what is considered ordinary, and to convince the viewer to see beauty there also,” she said.