The Ferguson Art Gallery at Concordia University Chicago is excited to open its first exhibit of the 2021-22 academic year, “Sixty Years in the Dark (Room)” by Jon W. Balke. The black-and-white photography exhibit is free and open to the public from Aug. 15 to Sept. 30. A reception with the artist will be held in the gallery Sunday, Sept. 12 from 2-4 p.m., with an artist’s talk at 3 p.m.

A retired public school administrator, Balke devotes his time to capturing distinctive black-and-white images employing traditional photography processes. Through his many years of study and experimentation he has accomplished an impressive array of professional exhibitions and remains committed to education. Balke has been photographing the environment for more than 60 years, creating his environmental images with a large format view camera and develops the prints in his darkroom using the traditional gelatin silver process. His limited edition fine art black-and-white prints capture the natural world with unique lighting, spatial perspectives and line-form relationships. Balke studied darkroom techniques with Ansel Adams and John Sexton and photographic composition with Willard Clay.

Balke sees beyond the parameters of formula, tradition and trends in photography. “I believe in the craft and technique necessary to create in silver-based photography,” he says. “I also believe in the magic of unique ways of seeing and depicting images. In photography, as in music, continual creativity demands discipline, but it is never a product of discipline alone.”

“We are honored to host Jon’s wonderful exhibition of photography on campus,” says BettyAnn Mocek, professor of art at CUC and director of the Ferguson Gallery. “Photographs that are developed in a dark room gives us a hint into the past as well as a glimmer into the ageless and magical contemporary world of photography. Each work is a true treat to savor.”

The Ferguson Art Gallery is located in Kretzmann Hall at Concordia University Chicago, 7400 Augusta St., River Forest, IL. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. At this time, face coverings are required inside University buildings for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status. For more information, visit CUChicago.edu/ferguson or call 708-209-3013.