“Dale Easley in the Wild West: Sabbatical Photography" at the University of Dubuque -- through January 31. (view from Easley's Campsite on Thomson Falls State Park)

Exhibit: Through Wednesday, January 31

Reception: Monday, January 22, 6:30 – 8 p.m.

University of Dubuque's Bisignano Art Gallery, 2255 Bennett Street, Dubuque IA

With its works taken during what turnout out to be a 5177-mile, 6.5-week quest, a University of Dubuque professor's gifts for composition, lighting, and more will be on display in the gorgeous and evocative Dale Easley in the Wild West: Sabbatical Photography, the exhibition on display in the university's Bisignano Art Gallery through January 31.

“In my sabbatical proposal that enabled the trip, I had stated that I wanted to revisit places from my youth and write about how climate change had affected them,” said Easley, a professor of geology at the university. “However, I was approaching major transitions in my own life – the marriage of my daughter, advancing arthritis, retirement, and the age at which my father died. Perhaps for the last time, I wanted to seize the day.” 

In the exhibit's Web-site essay, Bisignano Art Gallery director writes, "Ever notice how an essay or review on an artwork or a poem can present it in a new light, sometimes in a pecular light? I certainly have and, to be quite honest, sometimes it is not in the best interest of that art work or that artist. But, after all, what do art critics know? I mean, really? So I offer this preamble as a word of personal 'dread' for the work of my friend and colleague, Dale Easley. And I hope he's not too offended by what follows.

Lake Easley Skirted on the Approach to Grinnell Glacier

"To me, this show is a bit like the Beat Generation poetry revisited. Now if you know Professor Easley, then you know he is an avid and accomplished writer - prose, poetry, and (naturally) science papers. And as I look at the images of this show and read his text, my mind wanders back to Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady - their friendship, their thunderous letters, and their On The Road adventures. Zoom ahead 75 years, and here you have a scientist/writer/photographer on his own personal odyssey, combining cross country and cross discipline.

"There's a clear mirror image here of Kerouac's three week, self-made myth, in Dale's text-and-image journey. Legend has it that Kerouac wrote his On the Road, typing it almost nonstop on a 120-foot roll of paper. (The truth is that the book actually had a much longer, bumpier journey from inspiration to publication, complete with multiple rewrites and repeated rejections.) And I suspect the same can be said about the works that we see here.

Overlook to Lake Yellowstone

"Journeys have a way of changing us. That's why we travel, I think, to experience compassion and empathy for our world and (if we're lucky enough) for ourselves. And that's what a sabbatical is supposed to do - assist in nurturing in achieving freshness and new ideas. It has been a pleasure working with Professor Dale Easley in putting this show together. He was full of self-doubt in the beginning; I wasn't. The 120+ feet document in the Gallery is a great reflection of Dale's probing mind. Sincere thanks go to him and to Noah Bullock, Coordinator of the Gallery, for printing the images and text and designing/hanging the show."

A reception for Dale Easley in the Wild West: Sabbatical Photograph will be held in the University of Dubuque's Bisignano Art Gallery on January 22 from 6:30 to 8 p.m., and takes place in conjunction with that evening's Heritage Center touring performance of Blood Done Sign My Name featuring Mike Wiley The exhibit itself will be on display through January 31, with regular gallery hours noon to 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday. Admission is free, and more information is available by calling (563)589-3267 and visiting Dart.dbq.edu/gallery.

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