The Newman University Steckline Gallery will present “Butterflies and Angels – An Ode to Earthly Goddesses” by Dale Strattman as the fifth show of its 2014-2015 season. The exhibit of photography, which begins with a Final Friday reception from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 30, will be on display through Feb. 20. Both the reception and admission to the gallery are free and open to the public.
An “Art for Lunch” presentation by the artist will be held Tuesday, Feb. 3 from noon to 1 p.m. in the gallery. A light lunch will be served on a first-come, first-served basis. Guests can also bring their lunch. This event is also free and reservations are not required.
Strattman is professor of photography at Wichita State University. He has been taking black-and-white photos for more than 40 years, and continues to develop his own film and prints in his darkroom using fully archival materials. He began teaching in the 1970s and taught the first photography art classes in the public school system, first at Wichita High School West, then at Northeast Magnet.
Strattman has exhibited his work widely and published two books. His style, which typically involves the human form, developed by studying pictures of women used in advertising or mannequins in store windows. Glamor and beauty, he concludes, are portrayed as a desirable yet unattainable ideal of what womanhood should be.
“Women have been worshiped by men since the beginning, angels admired from a distance,” Strattman said. “They become the affections and fantasies of most men even though it is realized and accepted that they are usually unapproachable. ‘You can see me,’ the perfect woman says, ‘But you can’t have me, I am like a butterfly floating about the garden.’ The most beautiful become the most coveted, lifted to the level of goddesses. They become the idealized, the personification of beauty, the perfection of the human form like a Greek sculpture. In our modern culture they symbolize and humanize perfection. These angels are used to entice consumers to purchase a product with the belief that they too can walk in the garden and maybe catch that beautiful, elusive butterfly.”
The Steckline Gallery is located inside the De Mattias Fine Arts Center on the Newman campus, 3100 McCormick. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by appointment. For more information, call 316-942-4291, ext. 2199.