VERMILLION, S.D. – Installation is underway at the University of South Dakota for a showing of abstract paintings by J. Steven Manolis, a USD alumnus who specializes in large-scale, intensely-colored canvases.
The exhibit will open to the public on Aug. 21 in the John A. Day Gallery and will run through Dakota Days, with an artist’s reception planned for Oct. 6. School classes will be invited to see the show and attend a critic’s round table during the last week of the exhibit.
“J. Steven Manolis is one of the foremost practitioners of abstract expressionism today,” said Elizabeth Sobieski, arts writer in New York and Los Angeles.
“Steven’s monochromatic color design and his large scale of artwork have rarely been created in the art world,” said Larry Schou, dean of the USD College of Fine Arts.
Born in Vermillion, Manolis earned a bachelor’s degree in business at USD in 1970 and an MBA from the University of Chicago in 1975. He later became the youngest general partner at Salomon Brothers in 1980 where he helped develop the multi-trillion-dollar residential and commercial mortgage securities department.
However, Manolis was always interested in art. He resigned from Salomon Brothers in 1991 to start his own company and to devote time to his paintings. Manolis now paints in Miami, and earlier this year had a solo exhibition at the Coral Springs Museum of Art in Florida. His paintings have sold to collectors around the world.
Manolis has donated seven paintings to USD, which are valued at $550,000, including one work made up of four canvases that reaches 7 feet high and 36 feet long. The paintings can be viewed in the Beacom School of Business, the Muenster University Center, and the Warren M. Lee Center for Fine Arts.