Hundreds of small pieces in a huge holiday art exhibition | Arts & Theater



The walls of the Radius Gallery are nearly short of space for all contemporary art in its annual Holiday Art Show.

The show is “a celebration of Montana’s creative community,” said Lisa Simon, co-owner of Radius.

The gallery estimates that there are 150 artists and over 600 individual pieces, making it one of the largest group shows each year in Missoula. About 80% are from Montana and 50% from the city. About sixty artists, including their represented artists, were invited to submit works, and then they launched an open call to attract even more.

Most of the works are small in size: ceramic mugs and tiny 2D works starting in the $ 50 zone and gradually increasing for large paintings and sculptures.

The artwork will hang on the wall until November 17, when people can pick it up, and the gallery begins to incorporate other pieces into it, including a large hanging on Saturday November 27 on Small Business.

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With the volume of work, there is a trade-off between accessible art and things that are more distant.

“A lot of the time the conversation goes, ‘Wow that’s wild, look at this,’” said Jason Neal, a co-owner.

Hanging up and organizing the show takes days and gives some fun and jarring juxtapositions of these styles as you walk around the space.

You’ll see detailed realistic seascapes by Asha MacDonald and pastel landscapes by Bobbie McKibben, whose rendering of exterior scenes shows his background in creating abstract expressionist marks, Simon said.

Then there’s Gabs Conway’s “The First Born,” a fleshy tuber-like ceramic creature with fingers for his legs and a protruding mouth who would find a good home with an HR Giger superfan.

Neal said that Missoula has many different strata of talented artists. Students leaving UM are always strong. Then there are mid-career artists, both full-time and non-professional artists, who “do amazing stuff,” then a higher level of creators who do nationally recognized work, ” all in this little mountain town ”.

There will be a special online sale of pieces from an established group of locals: ceramicists Adrian Arleo, Julia Galloway, Beth Lo and Shalene Valenzuela and painter Stephanie Frostad on November 29.

The names of young artists appear everywhere: “Kirkos” by Austin Navrkal is an elegant sculpture, similar to a Zen Enso circle in watercolor, except that it is made of bent steel rods and soda-fired ceramics. . (He’s an MFA candidate at the University of Montana.) Elsewhere, recent graduates like Brooke Armstrong, who submitted wall pieces with white porcelain spheres on wire like a densely arranged bead curtain or a surreal assemblage of jewelry or sacred objects.

Claudia Roulier, a recent transplant from Montana, helped assemble the sculptures. “Circular Argument” is built around what appears to be a vintage tuba-type instrument and a bicycle wheel. Lions, bears, horses and a Pinocchio populate the edge, with an animal skull presiding over the horn bell.

Engraver James Todd, retired professor emeritus from the University of Montana, has a small wall all to himself for his finely etched images. It includes portraits, such as James Welch from Todd’s Montana series, and a stoic rendering by John Lennon.

Cinephiles take note. When you go upstairs, stop in the Hall of Relics, around the corner towards the back of the building. They are temporarily exhibiting a piece by a private collector: James Rosenquist’s “Samba School” diptych, a pop-abstract painting with photo-collage layers from 1986. In Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street”, predatory financier Gordon Gekko engages in a bidding war to get his hands on it.

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