Gallery to Feature 'Seeing Dakota: Collisions and Confluences'

Sheila Agee, A Fence’s Testimony, oil on 4 oak flush doors (each 80” x 36”), total group 12’ across. Four seasons that reflect the cemetery near the Hiawatha Golf Course (Canton, SD), where 121 Native Americans are buried who were held at the Hiawatha Asylum for Insane Indians.

Event Details

Date: November 15 - December 13, 2018

Times: Daily

Location: Eide Dalrymple Gallery

Ticket Info: Free and open to the public.

The Eide/Dalrymple Gallery at Augustana University will feature “Seeing Dakota:  Collisions and Confluences."

The exhibit runs from Thursday, Nov. 15, through Thursday, Dec. 13.

The exhibit and the reception are free and open to the public. A gallery reception was Friday, Nov. 16.

The exhibition “Seeing Dakota:  Collisions and Confluences” is the result of an intense collaboration between the prominent South Dakota artist Sheila Agee and Augustana writer and theologian Ann Pederson. They intertwine not only the two different professional practices of art and theology, but also their two different ways of seeing Dakota to produce a new vision.

This collaborative exhibition and website  invite reflection on South Dakota as a spiritual geography that is richly layered with meaning and history. Invocations of South Dakota are often made thru the lens of a “fly-over state,” stereotypical notions of the “heartland,” or the drive-thru tourism icons of Mount Rushmore and motorcycle rallies. “Seeing Dakota: Collisions and Confluences” will illuminate the spirituality, resilience, and layered sediments of meaning and history that are lived daily on the prairie. The exhibition and website invite people to look with intention, reflect, and gather insight from art and words.

The exhibition consists of large, door-size panels of oil paintings with large-scale panels of writings. Arranged as a double-layered, radiating quadrant in the center of the gallery, the installation produces four visual “moments”: 1. Making Sense of Dakota through the four elements (earth, wind, fire, water) and the five senses; 2. Imagining Icons of the Prairie to find the extraordinary within the ordinary; 3. Following Traces and Imprints to track the trauma and resilience of communities on the Prairie; and 4. Watching and Wandering with the Spirit(s), to call mindfulness to the Spirit(s) of the Dakotas.

Within the gallery space, people are invited to read, watch, and listen to the experience of the prairie and to linger within those moments. This collaboration conscientiously invokes the process of lectio visio (slow, interactive meditation on the visual), which is similar to the monastic practice of lectio divina. What do the visual arts reveal about the sacred and the Divine? When a theologian and an artist come together to express how they look at the world around us, they offer a kind of hermeneutics of seeing. This interpretive lens (pun intended) is the methodological focus of the project. They explore the relationship between landscape, perception, art, and the mind’s eye. Together, Agee and Pederson present new ways of seeing and knowing the spirit of place that is South Dakota.

In addition to the work of Agee and Pederson, the exhibition will also feature the artwork of community artists who study painting with Agee: Patti Dempster, Laura Donohue, Beth Frankman, Colleen Miller, Barbara Sparks, and Maureen Suga; and the writing of Augustana students Lauren Sim and members of Pederson’s Religion 110 class.

Sheila Agee was born in Arkansas and raised in Aberdeen, SD. She earned a B.S. in Art Education from Bemidji State University, MN, and a M.F.A. in Painting and Drawing from the University of Oregon. She returned to South Dakota and has since worked tirelessly to build a thriving arts culture in our region. She was a driving force behind the realization of the Washington Pavilion. She served as the Executive Director of the Sioux Falls Civic Fine Arts Center from 1987 to 1996, and served as the interim director of the Washington Pavilion Visual Arts Center in 2015. Her true vocation, however, has been that of a practicing artist.  Her works can be seen in many major public and corporate collections, including at the South Dakota Art Museum, Raven Industries, and Sanford USD Medical Center.  She has exhibited regularly in the region. In 2016, Agee was awarded the Charlotte Carver Award for Achievement in the Arts at the Mayor’s Awards for the Arts, Sioux Falls.

Ann Pederson is a Professor of Religion at Augustana University, where she has taught since 1990. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Neurology in the Section for Ethics and Humanities at the University of South Dakota School of Medicine. She holds a Doctorate of Theology from Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.  Her books include Our Bodies Are Selves, written with Philip Hefner and Susan Baretto (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock/Cascade, 2014) and The Geography of God’s Incarnation (Wipf and Stock/Cascade, 2013). She has also published over a dozen book chapters and articles in peer-reviewed journals. Her current research has been focused on embodied cognition and epigenetics, and their relationship to landscape, memory and trauma.

*This exhibition supported in part by a South Dakota Arts Council Project Grant.

The Eide/Dalrymple Gallery is located on Commons Circle (30th Street and Grange Avenue), in the Center for Visual Arts at Augustana University. The gallery is open to the public and free of charge. Hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Saturday 1-4 p.m.

Dr. Lindsay Twa
Director, Eide/Dalrymple Gallery