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Mystery & Majesty:
Native American Rock Art

Lee Silliman

On Exhibit
September 15
October 29, 2016

Opening Reception
Thursday, September 15, 2016
5:00 - 7:00 PM
Admission: Members/Free, Non-members/$10

Curator Talk with Lee Silliman
"The Rocks Speak: Rock Art of the American West"

Wednesday, October 5, 2016
6:00 - 7:30 PM
Admission: Members/Free, Non-members/$10

 Lee Silliman Mystery and Majesty

Lee Silliman Mystery and Majesty

Lee Silliman Mystery and Majesty

About the Exhibit
This exhibit focuses upon the plethora of imagery left by generation of Native Americans. Like all people throughout time and geography, Native Americans left a tangible record representing their emotions, culture, and understanding of the cosmos. Lee Silliman’s black and white photographs tap into a few of the literally thousands of chiseled and painted constructions they left behind upon boulders and stone walls. Researchers still struggle to untangle the ethnic history of this myriad of artworks. One justifiably strives to assign meaning to the context of animals, anthropomorphic figures, and geometric patterns—and yet, perhaps one ought to simply appreciate petroglyphs and pictographs as pure art. Thus, here the present artist seeks to relay an ancient artist’s conceptions.

Over the past five years, Lee Silliman has traveled to rock art sites on public and private lands in Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and New Mexico, where he photographs the designs with his 8 x 10 inch view camera. These sacred drawings are found on cliff faces and boulders located near streams, or in deep canyons, and occasionally set amidst rock outcroppings on dry plains and deserts. The majority of rock art photographs shown in this exhibit are the petroglyph type, which is a design chiseled into a darker rock, leaving a lighter figure. Several examples of pictographs (dark pigment painted onto lighter colored rock) are also included in the exhibit. Rock art guide books were essential in Lee’s quest, as they lead to the general area, but hiking and searching for specific rock art takes persistence. The most interesting artworks to discover are panels, which are comprised of numerous interrelated figures that seem to portray a narrative. In summation, the photographs in this exhibit seek to honor America’s first artists.

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