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Lessons Learned, Ric Gendron
June 26, 2016 - October 10, 2016

Lessons Learned: Ric Gendron, will be featured at the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art from June 28 through October 28, 2016. This series of acrylic works were created by artist Ric Gendron, who has been painting for over three decades. Gendron is an enrolled member of the Arrow Lakes Band Colville, whose reservation is in northeastern Washington. An accomplished guitarist and avid music lover, Gendron can be found painting most days of the week, always accompanied by an eclectic array of music. After living in Spokane, Washington for many years, Gendron recently moved to Idaho and continues to paint full-time from his home studio. Recognizable and original traits in his paintings include intense color, exaggerated hands, broad strokes and often mouthfuls of Cheshire-like teeth.

In a book that was printed in conjunction with his 2012 solo exhibition at the Missoula Art Museum, Ric Gendron Rattlebone, he was asked about his motivation for painting. The artist stated, “Why do I paint? Everyone asks me. I suppose the reason for doing what I do in the first place is I feel this is the only way to say what needs to be said. People for the most part aren’t that interested in my words, but when I make marks on paper and canvas, they sometimes stop and notice. What’s important to me are the things that surround me, my family, my walks every day, friends, music, poetry, lost love, life, death. One of my main influences is my physical being. I don’t consider myself very attractive to others, and maybe that has helped me create some of the stark rawness of many of my paintings. And the songs, lyrics, stories, and poetry of the downtrodden, homeless, poor, maimed, starving people have always played an important role in my work.” (Ric Gendron Rattlebone, Ben Mitchell, 2012, University of Washington Press.)

Ric Gendron’s expressionist works have been shown in Missoula recently and across the Pacific Northwest extensively. His often larger-than-life paintings occupy both contemporary and traditional space. Gendron’s subject matter and iconography in Lessons Learned are “…influenced by a more primitive view of the spirit, back to fire and rocks, enveloped in a sweet darkness..." Gendron’s deeply personal works are often narrative in nature and evoke both his ancestors’ and his own journey through life. Directly inspired by his life experiences and Upper Columbia Plateau heritage (his father was Colville and his mother was is a member of the Umatilla Tribe), Gendron’s beautiful paintings offer a glimpse into one man’s journey. Join us for an opening reception and artist talk on Tuesday, June 28th from 5-7p.m. at Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art as we celebrate the opening of this exhibition and a fascinating contemporary artist of the West.

Hidden in Plain Sight, Jill Brody
June 1, 2016 - August 15, 2016

Hidden in Plain Sight features a collection of large-scale color photographs by professional photographer Jill Brody.  Brody’s images were taken over the course of four years at the Liberty County Hutterite Colony in central Montana. This body of work examines day-to-day experiences in a Hutterite community, allowing the viewer a glimpse of colony life.

Winner Takes All, Jay Schmidt
June 3, 2016 - October 10, 2016

Winner Takes All is a collection of paintings and sculptures by Montana artist, Jay Schmidt. For the last 40 years Schmidt has employed narration and imagery to relate cautionary tales of contemporary culture.  The artist states: “I view the world as a runaway train, traveling full speed ahead, consuming the planet at a breath-taking rate. There is no guiding wisdom or creative vision that determines our path. We are just moving forward and fast, seemingly incapable of changing our destructive course.”

The oil paintings and carved wood sculptures in this exhibition portray a world of figures mired in the violence and destruction of endless wars, environmental exploitation and greed.  The irony of our competitive consumer culture is that it puts to question the concept of winning when the prize is a planet no longer capable of sustaining human life.

Artist Jay Schmidt taught as a professor in the Art Department at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana for 26 years before retiring in 2007.  He maintains a studio in Bozeman where he continues to build upon his provocative body of work. Learn more about Schmidt’s art and extensive collaborations by visiting his website at

Thinking Room, Theo Ellsworth
June 3, 2016 - October 10, 2016

Thinking Room features a collection of obsessively detailed drawings, woodcuts, sculpture and narrative art.  Ellsworth’s work explores, blurs and pushes at the boundaries between our shared physical reality and the personal inner world of the artist.  Of his work, the artist states: “For me, drawing is a cathartic experience. It's a psychic chiropractic adjustment. It's an active search for an antidote to the chronic misalignment between reality and the imagination. Drawing is both a mode of transportation and a method of documentation; a way to bridge gaps, peek around corners, and ultimately reach new places in my own mind. In the repetition of lines, the Mythological merges with the mathematical and Science and the Imagination become inseparable.  With these drawings, I am carving out a personal space where I can think in the way that feels most natural to me and hopefully offer a window to new positive possibilities for relating to the world.”

Theo Ellsworth is a self-taught artist who maintains a working studio in Missoula, Montana.  He has successfully dabbled in painting, sculpting, comic book illustration, mixed media and other artistic pursuits.  He is the author and artist behind several graphic novels including Capacity and The Understanding Monster, both published by Secret Acres (Brooklyn). His work has been featured in Best American Comics, The Treasury of Mini Comics, Trip Magazine, S! (The Baltic Comics Magazine), Cicada Magazine, and Smoke Signal.   He has had solo shows at the Missoula Art Museum, Giant Robot (Los Angeles), The Toonseum (Pittsburgh), Pony Club (Portland, OR) and The Brink Gallery (Missoula), and group shows at The Society of Illustrators (NYC), The Latvian National Library, The Honolulu Art Museum, The Vincent Price Art Museum, and Radius Gallery (Missoula).  He is the house artist for the London based record label, Astral Industries.  This one-of-a-kind artist was recognized for his book, The Understanding Monster with the Lynd Ward Honor Book Prize from Penn State in 2013 and honored with the Montana Art Council Artist’s Innovation Award in 2014. Learn more about Ellsworth via his blog: 

Vision, Strength, Access: VSA Montana – Arts Annual Exhibition
June 10, 2015 - July 22, 2015

This exhibition celebrates this past years work from the museum’s VSA Program. Allowing these very special artists the freedom to use art as a means of self-expression, the VSA Montana Arts Program at The Square focuses on the social, emotional and artistic well-being of each student served. This year’s exhibition features creations from our Mixed Media, Pottery & Sculpture classes. Working with and getting to know this ever evolving group of artists enriches the lives of all those involved in the VSA experience. A special thanks to our dedicated VSA—Montana Arts Program teachers: B.J. Buckley, Rachel Kaiser, Alana Hastings and the many others who have helped make this program a success for the past 19 years

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.

National Endowment for the Arts Logo linked to their website      Montana Arts Council Logo linked to their website      Cascade County Logo