VERMILLION, S.D. – The “Painted Ladies Speak” exhibition by artist Janet Braun-Reinitz of Brooklyn, New York, is currently on view at the University of South Dakota University Libraries, on the second floor, through Oct.16.
The exhibition, which features a selection of Braun-Reinitz’s recent collages, is hosted by the University Libraries’ Art and Exhibits Committee and curated by Sarah A. Hanson-Pareek, committee member and curator of photographs and digital projects at the University Libraries.
“Implicit in my work are stories waiting to be re-told – remembrances of recent events and those fading from memory that resonate in many registers, formal, narrative and personal,” Braun-Reinitz said. “The troubling nuances and tensions between what is observed in passing, and what lives in memory, produce an art with explicit social and political content. I find conceptual parallels and formal connections to works as diverse as the narrative predellas of Italian altarpieces and the mixed media art of Betye Saar.
“The collages in the “Painted Ladies Speak” series borrow from icons of art history and add a contemporary ‘comment’ to critique the ongoing, still unresolved problems facing women today and, alas, tomorrow. Artists are here to disturb the peace,” said Braun-Reinitz.
The exhibition was originally planned to open in April, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was postponed.
“A lot has happened since then. Janet’s work reflects current events and is always fresh. She keeps up with the topics of the day in her work. So, if one thinks back to April, you can see a definitive timeline in her pieces, pausing right at the pandemic. And yet, her pieces are also timeless. The topics she works with, the stories she relates, the narratives created, are sincere and are well documented by many artists throughout time and place, thus her references to them,” said Hanson-Pareek.
“The University Libraries is honored to host the exhibit,” said Dan Daily, dean of the University Libraries. “Braun-Reinitz’s 2018 exhibit at I.D. Weeks Library with Sarah Maple was well-received, and I anticipate the same for ‘Painted Ladies Speak.’”
Braun-Reinitz is a muralist, painter, teacher and activist committed to social justice. Since 1984, she has collaborated in painting more than 60 community murals – in many venues in New York City, including public schools, health care facilities, day care centers, community gardens and more – as well as elsewhere in the U.S. and internationally. Between 1992 and 2013, she was the director of Artmakers Inc., a NYC community mural organization.
Her ongoing commitment to social justice began in 1961 when she was a freedom rider, arrested and jailed in Little Rock, Arkansas. She is frequently an artist-in-residence, most recently in 2019 at the Lakkos Residency to paint the mural “Denied, Detained, Welcomed,” in Heraklion, Greece, and in 2017 at Arte Studio Ginestrelle, Assisi, Italy.
Braun-Reinitz has co-authored two books, “The Mural Book: A Practical Guide for Educators” and “On the Wall: Four Decades of Community Murals in NYC.”
The exhibition is located at the top of the stairs on the second floor of the library, open to the public during library operating hours.