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May 15, 1995
Press Articles :: Rapid City Journal



Reprinted from Rapid City Journal May 1995
rapid city journal

Unique Prints on Display at Dahl

'Traditions and Transitions' also features Lakota clothing designs.

Astonishing palladium prints by photographer David Michael Kennedy and Sioux clothing designs by Laverne Heiter are exhibited in "Traditions and Transitions" in the Dahl Fine Arts Center's Central Gallery, June 2-July 16.


Featured in "Traditions and Transitions" are scenes of the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations, along with Kennedy's newest work: a portfolio of American Indian dancers from northern pueblos. The photographs are paired with 16 original clothing designs by South Dakota artist Laverne Heiter. Eight are patterned directly from traditional Sioux clothing, and eight are contemporary designs inspired by traditional forms, materials and techniques. Heiter's work is provided through the Oscar Howe Art Center in Mitchell.

California-born Kennedy spent almost two decades as a successful commercial photographer in New York City specializing in album covers and posters for recording companies. His photographs of Isaac Stern, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan are familiar images to the public.

In 1987 he moved with his family to a century-old adobe house in New Mexico where he is now represented by The Andrew Smith Santa Fe gallery. His 1989 essay on Leonard Peltier fueled interest in American Indian issues and brought Kennedy to Pine Ridge and Rosebud in 1991. He has returned many times since.

The palladium process Kennedy uses requires a high degree of skill. He hand paints emulsion onto archival watercolor paper. When dry, the negative is placed directly onto paper and exposed either to the sun or a strong ultraviolet source. The result is an image of rich brown tones, recalling the turn-of-the century sepia photogravures of Edward S. Curtis.

A single print may take as many as 15 hours to complete, and being handmade, each one is subtly unique. Kennedy restricts the production of images to no more than 30 prints per negative.

There will be an artist's reception Friday at 5:30 p.m..