Bede Art Gallery to Exhibit Photography of Patricia James

February 27, 2019

The Bede Art Gallery on the campus of Mount Marty College invites the public to enjoy the photography of Patricia James as she presents an exhibition entitled “Wildflower Prayers: Portraits of Plants Along the Missouri National Recreational River.” The collection of photographs will be on display in the gallery from March 4, to March 27, 2019.

James’ works feature wildflowers, shrubs, and other plants that she photographed as she
walked on her family’s property in Boyd County, Nebraska. James says her greatest delight is to really see plants and appreciate their diverse and complex colors, shapes and textures and she hopes to create a dramatic portrait of each plant that celebrates its beauty, strength, and fragility. “Each plant tells its own story. Adapting to a tough environment, being battered by wind and rain, blasted by the sun, trampled on by cows, and chewed on by insects. Birds thrive on their seeds, and bees flourish on their pollen. Each plant is in a constant cycle of transformation, as is the land they grow on.”

James calls her work “photoconstructions.” Each plant presents different artistic challenges as she works to make compositions that combine the details of photography with the expressiveness of painting. James says her artistic process has several stages. “First, I photograph the plant where it is growing. Then, on my computer, I digitally cut out unwanted areas around the plant and refines qualities such as contrast and sharpness. Third, I layer the image of the plant on a photograph of the sky, and finally, I put a colored border around the composition to add visual tension and complement the colors of the plant and sky. It is a time-consuming, exploratory process.”

Raised in the Chicago area, Pat James earned an MFA in sculpture and a Ph.D. in art education. After teaching at the University of Minnesota, she retired on her family’s property in northeast Nebraska. She has shown her photoconstructions in a number of one-woman exhibits, including the Bede Gallery in Yankton; GAR Hall Art Gallery in Yankton; Betty Strong Encounter Center in Sioux City, IA; Crane Trust in Wood River, NE; the Brookings Arts Council in Brookings, SD; the Norfolk Arts Center in Norfolk, NE; the Nebraska Governor’s Residence; the Fred Simon Gallery in Omaha, NE; and the Dakota Discovery Museum in Mitchell, SD. She is excited to bring them to the Bede Gallery in March.

The exhibit, which is free and open to the public, will be available for viewing at Bede Art Gallery Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting March 4, 2019. The show will conclude with a reception and gallery talk on March 27 from 2 to 4 p.m.

To learn more about the Bede Art Gallery or MMC’s fine arts degree programs and curriculum, please call 605-668-1545 or visit