Campus Life

'Traces: Montana's Frontier Re-Visited’ at USU Museum

The Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art at Utah State University opens a new photography exhibit featuring work from Dr. Richard S. Buswell.

Traces: Montana’s Frontier Re-Visited is the second exhibition in a series by Buswell that depicts vestiges of personal possessions and industrial materials. This exhibition features a series of black-and-white photographs that examine various artifacts left behind by Montana’s early miners, ranchers and homesteaders.
The exhibit opens Tuesday, April 1, and runs through May 10.
Buswell is a full-time practicing physician, fourth-generation Montanan, who has spent the last 30 years scouring the backcountry for secret trove. He uses research and leads from patients and friends to find sites and then records meticulous notes of the territory he has explored.
“Buswell shoots his frontier artifacts as if they were religious icons, in a bath of light,” said filmmaker Annick Smith of the work. “There are stairs going nowhere, window frames of skeleton walls, a tunnel that drips stalactites, rooftop shakes embroidered with moss and burlap curtains where birds drop their droppings. Such images are eloquent and alive. The lady of the house is gone, but her breath moves the curtains. Children’s voices echo in bunchgrass. Sky is all that the silo holds. The dredge pump has emptied the river of gold.”
Maggie Mudd, director of the Montana Museum of Art and Culture, also describes Bushwell’s work.
“His message, whether encased in dusty beauty or brilliant western light, is this: the silence of the frontier is a testimony,” she said. “The map is never finished. What moves through is destined to perish. Only the way, the passage, matters. What remains is a mere teasing memory of that experience, however sacred or misguided.”
Buswell’s work has been acquired by many national museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, the Library of Congress, Harvard University’s Fogg Art Museum and the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art.
“Traces: Montana’s Frontier Re-Visited” is accompanied by an exhibition catalogue published by the University of Montana Press.
For more information or to schedule a tour of the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, call (435) 797-0165. The Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art is on the USU campus at 650 North 1100 East, Logan, Utah, 84322, (435) 797-0163; fax (435) 797-3423. Information is also available at the museum’s Web site. The museum is open Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, noon-4 p.m. The museum is closed Sundays, Mondays and holidays. Admission is free. The museum is accessible to persons with disabilities.
Parking for the museum is available in lot C3 to the west of the museum. The parking fee in this area is $6 ($3 will be refunded if parked for two hours or less). Parking is free after 5 p.m. and on weekends. Two dedicated stalls are available for museum members. Please call Rachel for reservations: (435) 797-1414. Parking is also available in the USU Parking Terrace, located near the Taggart Student Center, for $1.50/hour ($7.50/day maximum). Free parking after 2 p.m. is available at lot B, located at the corner of 700 North and 1200 East (by Aggie Ice Cream).
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Contact: Deb Banerjee (435) 797-8207
Writer: Casey T. Allen
Photo from exhibit, half-house

An exhibit featuring the photographs of Dr. Richard S. Buswell can be seen at USU's Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art April 1-May 10. (photo credit: "Half House," silver gelatin print.)


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