Art professor to display Boot Hill Chronicles

Art professor to display Boot Hill Chronicles The University Art Galleries at The University of South Dakota is pleased to present Boot Hill Chronicles in the Main Gallery of the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts in Vermillion.

The exhibition, scheduled for Oct. 27 through Nov. 16, features a series of photographs taken at night in graveyards over the past 15 years by University of South Dakota Art Professor John Banasiak. A reception for the artist and the exhibition is scheduled for Oct. 30 at 7 p.m.

Utilizing a variety of techniques, Banasiak created images that capture echoes of the unsettled memories that haunt these places. The photographs are visual experiments with narratives that spin off of his nocturnal expeditions.

Banasiak says of the series ? "like the Spoon River Anthology of Edgar Lee Masters, I feel the presence of a storyteller, or on this South Dakota prairie, desperados or singing cowboys strumming through the ballads of their lives and the unsettled memories that still haunt these graveyards near the gateway to the West."

The photographs in the exhibition have an especially expressive quality due to Banasiak's unique technique. For this series, he used litho film on which he drew, carved, sanded, etched, and rubbed to manipulate and alter the figures and various characters in the stories he was telling.

The resulting large positive images were then contact printed onto other sheets of litho film that were further manipulated. Finally, these negatives were printed onto black and white photographic paper to produce provocative, eerie, and occasionally ironic images of great complexity and substantial whimsy.

According to John A. Day, director of the University Art Galleries, Boot Hill Chronicles is presented in partial recognition of Professor Banasiak's 2002 sabbatical leave.

"It is always difficult to present a sabbatical leave exhibition for John Banasiak because his work is never contained and his projects are inevitably open-ended," Day said. "We offer this show as one perspective on the complex work of one of our most productive art faculty and as a testament to the role of sabbaticals in the creative life of the university."

Boot Hill Chronicles is on view in the Main Gallery of the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts through Nov. 16. The show is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and from 1 to 5 p.m. on weekends.

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