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Courtesy of the Dahl Arts Center

A new exhibit graces the walls of the Dahl Art Center’s education and offices building. This gallery space is formally known as the Bruce H Lien Cultural Café & Gallery and currently features the photographic artwork of local artist Abigail Snowden.

Abigail Snowden is a recent Black Hills State University alumna with her degree in Mass Communications/Photography. She enjoys shooting images of worn down buildings and nature, as well as experimenting with alternative photographic processes such as salt printing, which is the process presented in this show. Abigail plans to pursue her Master of Fine Art (MFA) in photography.

The combination of digital and conventional silver-based technology draws her to the alternative processes of salt printing. The fact that a 150-year-old photographic process can still be incorporated into today’s fast growing digital world intrigues her. She is drawn to the richness and depth of the salt printing process. She is fascinated by the fact that no two images are ever the same although she confesses that this can be, at times, infuriating.

She finds the tonal variations of the brown hues, from the warmth of the highlights to the rich chocolate and burgundy of the shadows, to be a refreshing change from traditional black and white images. People and animals were purposefully omitted to give as few clues as possible to as to when these images were taken in order to suggest a timeless quality.

Salt images get their name from the usage of a diluted sodium chloride (table salt) solution. Two solutions, one of diluted sodium chloride and the other of light-sensitive silver nitrate, are applied to a sheet of rag paper. “I use a glass rod to coat the paper and to obtain the inconsistent edging on the images. Once dry, a negative is placed directly on the paper and is then placed under a UV light source. After exposure, the paper is washed and placed in sodium thiosulfate fixer that slightly bleaches the image and brings out the image’s highlights.”

The public is invited to view Abigail’s exhibit during the week, Monday through Friday between 8am and 4pm. It is advised to call ahead to be sure the gallery is open for viewing at 605.394.4101.