John Banasiak: The States Project: South Dakota
As I started looking for photographers to include in this project, several people recommended John Banasiak. I was thrilled to be introduced to his many, many years of photographic series and commitment to the art of photography and teaching. He has been a professor at the University of South Dakota since 1980 and has photographed around the globe. I immediately fell in love with his George Brown’s Bar series which he photographed from the vantage point of bartender between 1971 and 1975 while attending The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I phoned John the other day and loved hearing about his time as a young student at the Art Institute. One day, he said he came out of the darkroom and some older man asked him what he was printing, only to find out later that it was Walker Evans. John’s several series include various processes: silver, cliche verre, Van Dyke, hand coloring, Polaroid transfer, and cyanotype. It was hard to show just one series, but today I will show photographs from his more recent Night Walk series, and end with a few Cliche Verre Photo Prints from a related series The Boot Hill Chronicles.
John Banasiak grew up on the south side of Chicago and attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for both his undergraduate and graduate degrees. Upon graduation, he received the Fred J. Forester Traveling Fellowship to help with a documentary project in Poland in 1973. After teaching Foundation and Color Photography classes as a graduate student at the Art Institute of Chicago, he was offered a visiting artist position at Light Work at Syracuse University, which lead to a job as a one year replacement on the Art Department faculty of New York State University at Oswego. The following year John traveled to New Zealand and presented photographic workshops at Auckland University and Canterbury College. Upon his return to the US, he was offered a full time teaching position at the University of South Dakota where he has taught Photography for the past 36 years. John is represented by the Joseph Bellows Gallery of La Jolla, CA, and has been part of the AIPAD Photo Show held at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City for the past five years. John was recently included in the Creative Quarterly Best 100: 2015 Annual, published by Artisanal Media of NYC, with photographs from a current photographic series titled Scenes from the Dreams of a Fortune Teller. This past autumn John had a solo exhibition in the Main Gallery of the University of South Dakota of 60 Kalitype prints titled Views from the Halls of Purgatory. His photographic work is included in the collections of The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis; The International Center of Photography in NYC; The Nelson-Atkins Museum/Hallmark Photographic Collection in Kansas City; The Minneapolis Institute of Art; The Fundacion Valparaiso in Mojacar, Spain; The Diosgyori Vizualis Museum in Miskolc, Hungary; and the Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus, Georgia.
As I’ve grown, within my own experiences and adventures of Photography, I often return to the meditative context of night, to wander through in search of something personally meaningful and psychologically reflective. I have, for years, even before my involvement with Photography, been drawn to nocturnal environments and atmospheres, which often present mysterious and magical arrangements of light and shadow within the human residue, of architectural structures, or conger secret environments left by a slumbering city. Walking through the quiet and empty streets at night I often feel that I am walking through my own subconscious, passing places of memory, the residue of dreams, and atmospheres that seem to be visual equivalents of my own state of mind and emotion. I often feel outside of time when I explore a direction, street, or place at night. Unlike the passing of the hours of the day, the light and shadows of the night are unchanging, stuck in place with the adhesive of electrical currents. The environments that I encounter sometimes seem like stage sets, waiting in the dark, for the actors or the director, or the writers to show up, or the stage as it would feel just after they have all left. I have also grown to feel that these “sets” are equivalents to places within the side streets of my own psychological environments, seeming to be oddly familiar, resembling the places of my stored memories, past and future dreams, timeless comfort, and meditative beauty.
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John Banasiak: The States Project: South DakotaFebruary 28th, 2016
Willi White: The States Project: South DakotaFebruary 27th, 2016
Alice Bailey: The States Project: South DakotaFebruary 26th, 2016
Bob Newland: The States Project: South DakotaFebruary 25th, 2016
Aaron C. Packard: The States Project: South DakotaFebruary 24th, 2016