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Montana Expressions: Works of Charles Fulcher
January 19, 2017 - April 10, 2017
Opening reception: Thursday, January 19th from 5-7pm

Charles Fulcher is a Great Fall’s artist whom is well known for his use of bold color and striking imagery.  Larger-than-life oil paintings are contrasted with small groupings of canvases, showcasing a variety of Fulcher’s energy-filled work in Montana Expressions.  Featuring wildlife, florals, figurative, still-life and landscapes, this series of work was composed in both the Plein Air style and in the solitude of the artist’s studio.  Most artists begin paintings with an all-white canvas, but Fulcher is a self-professed non-conformist.  His paintings typically begin with an all-black canvas, drawing attention to aspects of light, shadow and contrasts in color.  Fulcher’s work is described as, “fresh and different,” by gallery owner Curtis Tierney of Bozeman; color pops with his black backgrounds emphasizing his already bright hues.

Fulcher has been drawing since his preteen years and holds a Bachelor’s of Art from Montana State University, Bozeman.  His working career began in graphic design and he began painting seriously in the late 90’s. In 1996 he participated in a painting class at the Square and shortly after launched his career as a professional artist.  His first solo exhibition, Genesis in Oil, was hosted by The Square in 2004.  He was recognized with the Ralph “Tuffy” Berg Award (best aspiring new artist at the C.M. Russell Art Auction) in 2006 and his works are held in both private and public collections.  Fulcher supports and promotes the arts as a member of the Montana Painters Alliance, the Great Falls Advertising Federation and is the proprietor of the Western Living and Design Show that he hosts every March during Western Art Week in Great Falls at the Cascade County Fair Grounds (ExpoPark).

Inspired by artists including Vincent van Gogh, Neil Patterson and Canada’s Group of Seven, Fulcher is unencumbered by boundaries and has pioneered his own style of painting over the years.  An artist through and through, Fulcher sings and plays guitar in local venues and continues to offer services in design and marketing through his business, Lodestone Advertising and Design.  His edgy approach to typical western scenery is epitomized in this special exhibition at Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art where his paintings once again come to life on our gallery walls with Montana Expressions.

Sponsored By:

Peneplaining: Ella Watson
December 15, 2016 - February 9, 2017
Closing Reception: Thursday, February 9 from 5-7pm

     A more or less level land surface produced by erosion over a long period  (noun)

Ella Watson’s recent work serves as a larger metaphor for Earth formations and life in general.  By building up multi-colored layers of cold wax and oil paint, the artist  scrapes away the wax to reveal the colors below.  Often using the scrapings elsewhere in the work, this additive/subtractive process mimics the evolution of landforms as well as singular life.  By adding and taking, rearranging and reevaluating, the Earth reorganizes itself. The same can be said for a person’s life: when things are taken and given, when changes happens, one is forced to adapt thus creating their life story. In her artwork, Watson values challenges, as they force her to rethink her work in order to bring the paintings to their full potential. Inspired by artists such as Frida Khalo, Felix Gonzales Torres and David Woinarowicz, Watson’s interdisciplinary work is often humorous, yet cathartic and utilizes a variety of mediums. Natural aspects of the local geography serve as loose jumping off points but ultimately, the artist is loyal to the process of creation.

Ella Watson is a Bozeman based artist who moved from NYC to Montana a little over two years ago.   Watson serves as the Director for the Helen E. Copland Gallery of the School of Art at Montana State University, Bozeman.  She received a MFA with emphasis in painting, printmaking and sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University on Richmond, VA. Watson has commissioned work in private collections and has shown both nationally and locally. Recent shows include exhibitions at the Emmerson Cultural Center in Bozeman and the Holter Art Museum in Helena. 

Go West: Post War Ceramics from the University of Great Falls Collection
January 6, 2017 - February 9, 2017
Closing Reception: Thursday, February 9 from 5-7pm

“Sister Trinita’s vocation as an educator in Montana
began merely ten years after the passing of Charlie Russell.
She passionately believed that art was a multifaceted 
experience and education was  a way to engage contemporary expressions.” 
-Stephen Glueckert, (Clay Odyssey, 2001)

Founded in Indiana during the mid-19th Century, the Sisters of Providence reached Washington Territory with their ministry by 1856. Locally they pioneered the Columbus Hospital (1892), St. Thomas Orphanage (1910), and the College of Great Falls (1932), now known as the University of Great Falls. Born in Missoula in 1908 as Rosemary Morin, Trinitas joined the Catholic order at a young age and taught art and French at the College for 33 years. She held a master’s degree in art and studied at the University of Washington, St. Catherine College, Chicago Art Institute, and Catholic University in D.C.  The conservatively dressed nun was well versed in many media and established herself as an industrious modern artist who was an inaugural member of the Montana Institute of the Arts and an active supporter of  the Archie Bray Foundation from its inception.

Sister Trinitas contributed significantly to the ceramics renaissance that was unfolding in early twentieth century Western America. In the 1930’s and 40’s Trinitas developed a multi-faceted art program at the College and an environment that fostered ceramics as an art form.  Trinitas worked closely with fellow educator Frances Senska and sought out European masters, who had moved to California in the 1930s after fleeing the encroaching presence of the Nazi Regime, Margurite Wildenhain, Gertrud & Otto Natzler and Antonio Prieto.  This prolific group of potters ultimately laid the groundwork for the next generation of artists to radically alter the field in the 1950’s – merging painting, sculpture and clay into one. Within a few decades, Montana native Peter Voulkos transformed clay from craft into a fine art medium, globally. 

The works in this exhibition highlight Trinitas many encounters with the foremost leaders in the field at the time. Most have been kept in storage for decades and are now on view in this special collaborative exhibition.  We celebrate an artist who was ahead of her time in an isolated part of the country, an educator who sought out expertise from others and an individual who shared her own talents and enthusiasm tirelessly with others.  Sister Trinita’s craftsmanship and creativity can be admired at the Chapel and at Gallerie Trinitas on the University of Great Falls campus.

Prints From the Permanent Collection
December 1, 2016 - February 28, 2017

Prints from Paris Gibson Square’s Permeant Collection remain on exhibition through February 28.  Fourteen diverse prints showcase a variety of printing techniques including:  lithograph, silkscreen, intaglio, woodcut and more.  Artists featured include Branson Stevenson, Jack Fischer, Peter Volkous, Jean Price, Terry Thall, Jerome Rankin, Daniel Biehl, Susan Stewart-Medicine Horse, Dennis Kern, King Kuka, Margaret Teal Myhre, Norman Dahl, Robert Royhl and Katya McColloch.

Emergence: A Collective of Plains Indian Warrior Artists
October 20, 2016 – April 8, 2017

Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art invites you to experience the exhibition, Emergence:  A Collective of Plains Indian Warrior Artists, in the Thayer Gallery beginning October 20, 2016.  Emergence brings together an award-winning group of Native American artists from the Northern Plains: Robert Martinez, Lauren Monroe Jr., Louis Still Smoking, Ben Pease and John Pepion. The objective of this exhibition is to allow museum visitors to encounter powerful and diverse contemporary Native voices through a variety of mediums.  Join us in celebrating the innovative and expressive art work in this unique exhibit created by members of the newly formed collaborative group- Creative Indigenous Collective.  The Creative Indigenous Collective and this special exhibition honors imagery that celebrates contemporary indigenous art that is thought-provoking and empowering.   Artist and member of the Collective,  John Pepion, states, “I think it's time to tell the world of our stories from our perspective and not by a textbook or movie. I hope we can educate the public and build better relationships with museums, galleries and art centers.”   


Robert Martinez lives in Riverton, Wyoming and is a member of the Northern Arapaho Tribe.  His work explores the dichotomy of traditional and contemporary life.  He grew up on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, experiencing Northern Arapaho, Chicano and Anglo culture, all of which shaped his life and thus his art.  He states, “I have always been interested in people.  Living in the West, I paint people I know- Native Americans, Cowboys, Trappers. I also paint people I admire- Medicine Men, Priests, Martial Artists.  I admire them for their dedication to their beliefs and their own ideals.”  The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian recently purchased a drawing of his for their permanent collection, he has won several awards in art shows and his work has been shown in the halls of Congress. 


Lauren Monroe Jr.’s art embodies his cultural heritage as a member of the Blackfeet Nation and communicates aspects of his personal journey through life.  Pikuni motifs and imagery appear in his acrylic paintings as well as scenes from reservation life where he grew up in Browning, MT.  His worked has been described as possessing “dream like qualities” that transcend time and communicate stories told through visual narratives.  Monroe is a working artist as well as a freelance film producer where he works in art production.  “My work creates a dialogue and conversation between non-natives and natives to get an understanding and appreciation of cultures,” notes Monroe. 



Louis Still Smoking resides in Pierre, South Dakota and is a member of the Blackfeet Tribe in Northern Montana.  In addition to being a painter, he co-owns a design studio with his wife Gina who is a member of the Lower Brule Sioux Nation.  Still Smoking states, “My work is very specific in nature to my culture and my personal views of the world.  I like to use very exploratory color fields in my compositions.  The use of color and the use of my Tribes cultural imagery are very important in building a good painting.  I try and rely on other modes of composition like Impasto layers and line to build a sense of realism.  The layers of paint allow for the viewer to focus on the subject with the ease of the handling of the paint.” Still Smoking Designs was created by Louis and Gina in 2013 who were looking for a platform to remedy some of the misrepresentation of Native people in mainstream media that reaches all forms of art, including fashion.  “We look at the fashion world as a blank canvas, and we use the authenticity of design, creation, and application through our own voices as Native people…We hope people can see Native fashion as a viable source for authenticity and a hub for sociopolitical commentary on what Native Americans deal with on a day-to-day basis.  We are not only limited to America, we understand being indigenous is worldwide.” 


Ben Pease is a young artist who is of both Crow and Northern Cheyenne tribal heritage.  Pease is currently a student at Montana State University studying studio art.  He works in mixed-media utilizing materials such as antique ledger paper and old photographs in addition to paint and ink.  Pease recently participated in the Out West Show in Great Falls, the Yellowstone Art Museum’s annual sale and has had a solo exhibition at the Emmerson Art Gallery in Bozeman.  “The primary reason I create art is to educate,” replied the artist when asked about his work. 




John I. Pepion is a member of the Blackfeet Nation who graduated from Two Eagle River High School in Pablo, Montana where he was selected to visit the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, New Mexico during his senior year.  He became inspired to follow in the footsteps of several family members who had attended IAIA and enrolled in the Oscar Howe Art Institute in South Dakota. He started painting with watercolors in the Plains Indian ledger style in 2005. He begins each piece by illustrating ideas stemming from his personal life and cultural history and incorporates the colorful designs of the Blackfeet into his artwork. Today, Pepion is a rising contemporary graphic artist whose powerful imagery represents aspects of culture that intrigue the viewer and tell a story.



This programming is made possible by the generous support of our members and supporters, with ongoing support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Montana Arts Council and Cascade County.

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