Banta to exhibit at EMU

Leslie Banta, owner-operator of Staunton Art Supply, will display her works Feb. 7-25 in the public art gallery at Eastern Mennonite University.

Banta will exhibit photographs and paintings that explore the theme, “Boundaries Without Limit.”

An opening reception for the artist will be held 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7, in the gallery, located on third floor of EMU’s Hartzler Library.

“When you place boundaries around an object or shape, you create a world within a world,” Banta says of her work. “Enclosure doesn’t only limit or prevent escape; it allows something new to happen within that space. And the interior space is not necessarily lesser than what surrounds it,” she adds.

In Banta’s paintings, the canvas surface is broken up through numerous color blocks and collaged elements. Each color or image allows fullness while adding to the rhythm of the larger painting.

The artist’s photographs invite a voyeuristic escape into a dream – a small, private place that cannot fully be shared. Adding an element of containment and reduced scale to a common image, such as a bed, reveals how privacy and intimacy are held in tension with space and time. The stereoscopic, or 3D effect in the photos, helps bring the small spaces alive.

Banta exhibited for nine years in the Washington, D.C., area before moving to the Shenandoah Valley in 2005. She earned a BFA degree with honors in painting from Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama, where she grew up. Northern Virginia abstract painter Joyce McCarten mentored her after college. She took post-graduate work at the Corcoran College of Art & Design in Washington, D.C., with instructors Bill Christenberry and Mindy Weisel. British colourist Richard Kenton Webb greatly influenced her painting palette.

The exhibit is open for browsing daily free of charge during regular library hours; admission is free.


– Story by Jim Bishop

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