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Past Exhibitions

News of the World: Stephanie J. Frostad
September 20, 2018 - February 4, 2019

News of the World: Stephanie J. Frostad
September 20, 2018 - February 4, 2019

Please join us for a special Reception and Artist Talk on Thursday, November 15 from 5-7pm.
Stephanie J. Frostad’s latest work will be on view in the Mungas/Volk Gallery through the new year. In News of the World, Frostad visits narratives that include Norse mythology, biblical symbols and references to contemporary issues. Most of these works focus on ravens and the natural world and in many, human subjects appear in the background of her detailed paintings, flushing out the meaning of the individual work. Frostad states, “….in stories and paintings, songs and plays we encounter themes that are relevant for every generation, even as circumstances change. This is one reason I am drawn to history, mythology and folklore as I investigate my current interests. Imagery and allegories of other times and places continue to illuminate our lives today.” A series of sketches, in pencil, inkwash and paint are displayed on a wall inviting the viewer to look more closely at the artist’s process. Referring to the title, the artist explains, “In Norse mythology the god Odin appears with animal companions, including two wolves and two ravens, Hugin and Munin. The name Hugin means Thought, while Munin has been variously interpreted as Memory, Emotion or Desire. Each day, these birds would fly out to gather news of the world and report back to Odin. I love the notion that ravens might be engaged in such reconnaissance. What’s more, this legend aligns with what we know scientifically about the capacity of ravens to learn, reason, communicate and remember. I consider these borrowed characters as witnesses who bring historical consciousness and reason to what they observe.”

Frostad studied at Studio Arts Center International in Florence, Italy where she began painting in 1985. She received a BFA from the Maryland Institute, College of Art in 1990, and in 1994 completed an MFA in Painting at The University of Montana. In 2017 Frostad was recognized with an Artist’s Innovation Award from the Montana Arts Council, an agency of State Government, through funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. Born and raised in Walla Walla, Washington, Stephanie J. Frostad’s studio is now nested in her Missoula, Montana home.

Spectacles, Tophats & Ties: David Driesbach Prints
October 24, 2018 – January 15, 2019

Spectacles, Tophats & Ties: David Driesbach Prints
October 24, 2018 – January 15, 2019

Spectacles, Tophats & Ties: David Driesbach Prints features an incredible variety of this prolific artist’s work on loan from the North Dakota Art Gallery Director’s Association, NAGDA. In 2014-15, Minot State University received a remarkable donation from the internationally known printmaker David Driesbach. A master of visual storytelling, David’s work often draws upon his own life experiences, dreams, and imagined dramas. Colorful characters float across surreal and dreamlike scenes. Some prints hearken back to his experiences in the South Pacific during World War II, while others are more humorous recounting events such as his home phone number was one digit different than the local pizza place when he taught at Northern Illinois University. David often puts himself right in the middle of the story with round spectacles, a top hat, and a tie (a personal homage to his wife). Viewers find numerous Little Orphan Annie cartoons, American currency, and appropriations from the history of art throughout many of his pieces. With these recurring themes and imagery. David has an unmistakable style that spans back to the earliest work in the collection from the early 1950’s.

Powwows & Rodeos: Communities at Play by Harry Lee Harpster Jr.
September 28 - December 15, 2018

Harry Lee Harpster Jr.’s photographs engage viewers with late 20th-century Native American culture on the northern plains. Harpster’s black and white images illustrate the beauty and challenges of reservation life and lands. Intimate photographs of Native American children and adults featured in this exhibition were taken during visits to powwows and rodeos between 1979 and 2001. Harpster captured encampment scenes, preparations for parades and dancing, booths and vendors, spectators and competitors. Sponsored by the Hockaday Museum of Art in Kalispell, MT, this travelling MAGDA exhibition will be on display in the Wylder Gallery at Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art until December 15 at The Square.

Art Auction After Sale
September 20 – December 1, 2018

Enjoy paintings and sculpture jurried into The Square’s 21st annual Art Auction that are included in an after-sale through the month of November. 15 works representing 13 artists are on display in the Dufrense/Cobb Gallery.

Cabin in the Woods
Art Deco Train

Image Credits Top Left to Right:

VSA Montana Annual Arts Exhibition
May 23 - July 28, 2018
Please join us for an Opening Reception on Wednesday, May 23, from 1:00A.M. – 1:00 P.M.

VSA, the international organization on arts and disability, was founded more than 36 years ago by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to provide arts and education opportunities for people with disabilities and increase access to the arts for all. The Square's annual VSA Art Exhibition will be on display beginning May 23, 2018 in the Dufresne/Cobb Gallery. The exhibition will showcase the work of students with special needs engaged in classes at The Square, namely from the Easter Seals – Goodwill Adult Day Program. The annual VSA – Montana Arts Exhibition showcases the accomplishments of The Square's student – artists with special needs over a year's time. Students enrolled in special needs programs at The Square meet quarterly to engage in mixed media and ceramics based classes that continue to stir the imagination and uphold the intuitive art making process that these individuals are naturally gifted with. Allowing students 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. Working with and getting to know this ever– evolving group of artists enriches the lives of those involved in the VSA experience.

Image Credits Top Left to Right:
Christie Nelson, "Fireworks," 2018, acrylic
Renee Curtis, "Fireworks," 2018, acrylic
Clyde Baker, "Fireworks," 2018, acrylic
Bottom: Josh Kopp, "Outer Spaces," 2018, acrylic

Sound/Play: Sam Krahn

Sound/Play: Sam Krahn
May 31-July 28, 2018
Please join us for a Opening Reception on Friday, May 31, from 5-7pm.

Sound/Play: Sam Krahn will be on view in the Mungus-Volk Gallery late May through July at Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art this summer. This exhibition is a series of sound makers culminating in an exhibition of Krahn's 2017-18 Artist in Residence (AIR) position. As part of Krahn's residency, he has taught art classes with each art teacher, shared his talents with GFPS students throughout the school year and maintained a studio at The Square.

The AIR program is made possible by a partnership between The Square and the Great Falls Public School district.

Please join us at The Square as we celebrate with an Opening Reception on Friday, May 31, 2018 from 5:00-7:00 P.M. Meet the artist and experience his works while enjoying complimentary beverages and appetizers.

Here in This House: Courtney & Molly Blazon

Here in This House: Courtney & Molly Blazon
June 12 - October 5, 2018
Please join us for a Opening Reception on Tuesday, June 12, from 5-7pm.

Artist Courtney Blazon’s imagery takes us someplace between the known world and a dreamscape while her mother Molly’s 3-D creations leave the viewer in awe of both familiarities and oddities. In this one-of-a-kind exhibition, mother and daughter team up to create a reality firmly rooted in surrealism, magic and storytelling. Molly works with raku fired clay, doll faces, fabric and found objects to create haunting sculptures that are reflected in her daughter’s drawings. Details such as perfectly pleated skirts are paired with abstract bodies against multi- layered colorful drawings on Mylar that reveal the creatures’ existences. This marriage of naturalism and fantasy, old and new, imperfect and exquisite, leave one’s imagination left to wander through a unique narrative designed by Courtney & Molly Blazon in the Thayer Gallery at The Square. Molly is a self-taught artist and Courtney is an award winning Montana artist whose work has been exhibited at the Missoula Art Museum and is held in private collections.

Here in This House: Courtney & Molly Blazon

Sculptures from the Permanent Collection

Sculptures from the Permanent Collection
May 21 - August 8, 2018

Sculptures from Paris Gibson Square's Permanent Collection remain on exhibition through the summer of 2018. Fourteen diverse sculptures showcase a variety of mediums and techniques including: wood, metal, ceramic, found objects, concrete, steel, glass, plastic & bronze. Artists featured include Jay Schmidt, Richard Helzer, Patrick Zentz, Clarice Dreyer, Freeman Butts, Jack Fisher, Terry Carson, Dr. Charles Smith, Stephen Glueckert & Kendra McKlosky.

Whirling Willendorf, Steven Glueckert, 2013, mixed media
Untitled, Kendra McKlosky, 2012, mixed media
Little Bighorn Series: One, Patrick Zentz, 2002, mixed media

Image Credits Top Left to Right:
"Whirling Willendorf," Steven Glueckert, 2013, mixed media
"Untitled," Kendra McKlosky, 2012, mixed media
"Little Bighorn Series: One," Patrick Zentz, 2002, mixed media

Falcon's Eye:  Nature Photography by Michael Sample

Falcon's Eye: Nature Photography by Michael Sample
June 1 - September 1, 2018

The photographic work of Michael Sample (1947-2014) captures the essence of western wildlife and geography. Sponsored by: MAGDA

THE FALCON'S EYE: Nature Photographs by Michael Sample, sponsored by the Yellowstone Art Museum, is an exhibit by publisher, philanthropist, and family man, Michael S. Sample (1947-2014). He has long been familiar to Montana audiences and, for decades, beloved for his extraordinarily sensitive nature photography. The Falcon's Eye honors Sample's wealth of nature photographs that he recorded during his all-season outdoor adventures. Through his photography, Sample captured the essence of Western wildlife and geography while revealing his own adventurous yet quiet nature. The subjects of his work range from the sublime view of a single wildflower frozen in an early winter snow to an epic storm over the Rocky Mountains. In retrospect, this seems an analogy for the artist's life. The Falcon's Eye is a cross-section of Sample's finest work in full-color nature photography, newly and beautifully printed for exhibition.

Image Credit
"Apikuni Mountain," Michael Sample, 2013, photograph

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


Great Falls Public Schools annual Student Exhibition
April 6 - May 17, 20188
Please join us for a Opening Reception on Friday, April 6, 4:30-6:30p.m.

Paris Gibson Square is delighted to once again host the annual GFPS Art Students Exhibition!  The exhibition features 2-Dimensional, sculptural and digital student art work in the Thayer, Rothschiller, Mungus/Volk and the Defresne/ Cobb Galleries. This special show is a collaborative exhibition between the school district and the museum that showcases exceptional art work of our region’s talented students that are instructed through the expertise of the teachers in the GFPS Art Department.  The Square will present the 11th annual Zach Culliton Merit of Distinction award to student Elsa Jones at the reception that honors Culliton’ s memory and his spirit.  Zach Culliton was 19 years old when he died from the cumulative effects of Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy.  He distinguished himself over the years as a person who accepted his challenges with humility yet refused to be defined by his illness.  Zach displayed a love of art at an early age and pursued his passion throughout his life receiving awards and having a solo exhibition at The Square.  We invite the public to attend the reception, ceremony and to celebrate the art created in the GFPS classrooms with us on this special occasion.

Self Portrait, Hayden Stevens, Pastel, Grade 5
Owl, Bugatti Olson, Ceramic, Grade 2
Untitled, Field Byrd, Pastel, Grade 2

Image Credits Top Left to Right:
"Self Portrait," Hayden Stevens, Pastel, Grade 5
"Owl," Bugatti Olson, Ceramic, Grade 2
"Untitled," Field Byrd, Pastel, Grade 2

Catherine Black Horse: The Power of Blessings & Beauty
January 22, 2018 –March 17, 2018
Please join us for a Closing Reception on Wednesday, March 14 from 5-7pm.

“Designing my dresses is a gift from Creator. I pray, and the dress tells me what it wants to be. I have made dresses for Bundle-Holder Women on the Blood Reserve and Blackfeet Reservation as gifts from Creator to bless them for their heart and prayers for our Indian people.” ~ Catherine Black Horse

Catherine Black Horse is enrolled in the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma and a member of the Tom Palmer Band and the Beaver Clan. She is a self-taught artist who is known for her traditional dresses and bold paintings. When creating her dresses she uses materials dating from the 1800’s including fine wool, silk, ribbons, metal sequins, dentallium shells, real elk teeth and antique thimbles. Black Horse’s paintings reflect a contemporary abstract style that radiate beauty with balance. Featuring a single subject in the center of the canvas, Black Horse ad's natural elements and traditional shapes to the foreground. Here color schemes are simple yet striking, producing a powerful image for the audience to reflect upon.

Though she is a relative new come to two dimensional art, Black Horse’s traditional dresses have won numerous prestigious awards across the country. Her work was chosen for First Place in 2007 and Second Place in 2011 at the Santa Fe Indian Market and the artist won Best of Division at the 2011 Autry Museum Intertribal Market Place. She has also exhibited her work in the Santa Fe Indian Art Market Native American Clothing Contest where her dresses, modeled by her daughters Bree and Victoria, have received multiple awards. Catherine also placed First at the Eiteljorg Museum Indian Art Market in 2004, was awarded Best of Classification at the Heard Museum Indian Art Market in 2012, and Best of Division at the Heard Museum and Santa Fe Indian Art Markets in 2014.

Museums also recognize Black Horse’s talent. The National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. selected her as a featured artist in 2007. The Heard Museum selected the artist to collaborate on a Trail of Painted Ponies design for the 54th Annual Heard Indian Fair and Market in 2008 to benefit Native American scholarships. She is an alumni of Willamette University where she serves on the Willamette University Native American Advisory Board and resides in western Washington with her husband who is also an artist, Terrance Guardipee.

Old Thoughts & New Visions: Terrance Guardipee
January 22, 2018 –March 17, 2018
Please join us for a Closing Reception on Wednesday, March 14 from 5-7pm.

Terrance Guardipee is an internationally acclaimed Blackfeet painter and ledger artist, consistently recognized for the traditional depiction of his Blackfeet heritage and contemporary innovation demonstrated in his work. Terrance was one of the first Native artists to revive the historical ledger art tradition, and was the first ledger artist to transform the style from the single page custom into his signature map collage concept. The map collage concept is based in the ledger art style, but incorporates various antique documents such as maps, war rations, checks, in addition to single page ledgers. Terrance utilizes antique documents in all of his artwork, dating from the mid-19th century, and typically originating from the historical and present Blackfeet homeland of Montana.

Guardipee was raised in the Blackfeet homeland in northern Montana. The contemporary cultural life and history of the Blackfeet people became a foundational part of Terrance’s identity which is expressed in his work. He is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Nation and regularly participates in the traditional Blackfeet ceremonies. He attended the Institute of American Indian Arts located in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he studied two-dimensional arts. His educational experience at IAIA enabled Terrance to incorporate the contemporary color palate he is known for in a manner that is consistent with Blackfeet tradition. Presently, Terrance resides in Seattle, Washington with his wife Catherine Black Horse.

The innovation Terrance Guardipee has demonstrated in his artwork is recognized by numerous museums, prominent Indian art markets, and private collectors alike. His work is featured in the permanent collections of prestigious institutions such as the Smithsonian Institute, Gene Autry Museum, Hood Museum at Dartmouth College, and the Museum of Natural History in Hanover, Germany. Terrance was the featured artist at the National Museum of the American Indian in 2007, and was selected to create an image for The Trail of Painted Ponies at the 2008 50th Anniversary Heard Museum Indian Art Market. In addition, at the 2008 Santa Fe Indian Art Market, Terrance was awarded first place in his category and best of division. In recognition of the ledger art style, the Santa Fe Indian Art Market has established a category specifically for ledger artists, and Terrance has placed first in this category since its commencement in 2009. The leading institutions in the Native art community consistently acknowledge Terrance’s innovative incorporation of authentic Blackfeet images into his own contemporary form of art.

21st Century Swag: Dwayne Wilcox
January 22, 2018 –March 17, 2018
Please join us for a Closing Reception on Wednesday, March 14 from 5-7pm.

Dwayne Wilcox’s ledger drawings are compelling, multi-layered, and beautifully executed. Each humorous work begins with a story that draws the viewer in, usually by way of a cultural reference such as a powwow, a biographical reference, or a historical reference. Although his ledger art is immediately laugh-out-loud amusing in the way it pokes fun at white and native cultures, the viewer will find many layers of meaning beneath the surface of the cleverly presented stories. Wilcox’s newest work in this exhibition features three-dimensional pieces including embellished ledger book covers, early 20th century hats and a shield inspired by an original 19th century ledger drawing by Red Dog. Wilcox’s chosen medium is ledger paper, and he uses this historic medium to convey, in the most contemporary way, a living culture through humor, dance, or vices of the modern times. The artist’s goal is to share a continuing view of how natives see the European culture and to reverse the paradigm.

“Pictographs, our traditional visual language, were once put on familiar things such as hides. That changed with the disappearance of the bison and the loss of freedom to hunt when the reservations bound the native people. The first paper on the Great Plains was found in used ledger books from white merchants. That paper became a new medium to my people, in addition to the colored pencils and inks available for trade. Like beads and beadwork, which were also traded, paper from ledgers has become a traditional form of art called ledger art.”
-Dwayne Wilcox, 2018

Dwayne Wilcox is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota and was born in Kadoka, SD 1957. His family is from Wanblee, SD and he attended Crazy Horse High school. Following graduation, Chuck enlisted in the military for four years. His wife was a career military member and they have lived in Colorado, South Carolina, Maryland and Montana. Wilcox has been a full-time professional artist since 1987, but has always been a lifelong producer of art.  While he has no formal art training, Wilcox had his first commissioned art piece  in 1974. Both private and public collections boast his work including the Smithsonian Institution, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Missoula Art Museum, Charles M Russell Museum, University Of Missouri At Saint Louis, South Dakota State University, Red Cloud Indian School Heritage Center, Akta Lakota Museum, United Tribes Museum, Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth, Peabody Museum, Harvard University Cambridge Massachusetts and many others. Wilcox has won many awards and is featured in numerous publications.

Maria Wimmer: Suburban Whimsy
November 16, 2017– February 2, 2018

“I want people to go there and find something they connect with. They can find a deeper meaning or can find it charming or whimsical. Either is fine with me. Hopefully they’ll do both.”
- Maria Rose Wimmer

Suburban Whimsy is a collection of twenty vibrantly colored acrylic ink on canvas paintings which summon a playful vintage illustrative aesthetic. The work pairs seemingly disparate subjects like dinosaurs and human infants setting the stage for multiple narratives. Light-hearted on the surface, Wimmer’s subject matter evokes a darker undertone; which invites the viewer to consider deeper themes such as: isolation, a quest for perfection, and the loss of childhood dreams. The paintings may appear Surrealist in nature, but rather than looking for inspiration from dreams, Wimmer creates metaphors pulled from real life experiences including motherhood, death and the predictability of suburban life. By coupling these often heavy topics with playful imagery set against a stark white background, Wimmer challenges the viewer to discover their own personal metaphors. What does the work mean to you? Why was this made? What comes next?

Maria Rose Wimmer was born in Havre, Montana and has worked and lived throughout the West. She began formal art training at age thirteen. In 1999 she attended college at Eastern New Mexico University on the Lorraine Schula Scholarship for Art. Maria Rose Wimmer later received a BA from the University of Montana and her Master’s Degree in Art History from the University of Denver. She moved to Casper, Wyoming in 2009 and teaches at Casper College and Southern New Hampshire University. Her work has been displayed regionally and nationally, including several group shows and solo exhibitions. Maria Rose Wimmer’s work can be found in private collections throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

E. K. Wimmer: Path of Destruction
November 16, 2017– February 2, 2018

“The Path of Destruction” is a collection of hand-cut analog collages that were created over the course of three years. Each work was designed with intention and uniformly presented to create visual flow as a cohesive group; sharing similar sociological subject matter like abandonment and depression while surveying the adverse effects of isolation, introversion and paranoia. What started as a means to cope with dissolving friendships and the death of loved ones developed into a recognition that loss is not necessarily an unhealthy experience, but rather, it can be a catalyst for positive growth. Several recurring themes such as metamorphosis, animals, masks and the supernatural work to construct a larger narrative about allowing one’s self to transform through loss and use those experiences to examine the meaning and purpose behind each occurrence. Both deeply personal and universally relatable, “The Path of Destruction” offers the viewer an opportunity to question how loss has and will continue to shape their own path.

E.K. Wimmer is a multi-media artist, film composer and curator currently serving as Chief Curator of Art for the Nicolaysen Art Museum in Casper, Wyoming. He was born in New York, was raised in New Mexico and has lived throughout the West. He studied photography at Eastern New Mexico University and Art History at the University of Montana. E.K. received his MA from the School of Art and Art History at the University of Denver. In addition to collage, he works in other disciplines including photography, video installation, painting, film composition and printmaking. His work has been included in numerous group and solo exhibitions throughout the United States and can be found in collections nationally, spanning New York City to Los Angeles, including the Wyoming State Museum. Internationally his work is held in Europe, Asia and Australia with work in the Permanent Collections of the Homna Art Museum in Japan and the Scandinavian Collage Museum in Norway.

Nancy Erickson: Encounters
November 15, 2017 - March 1, 2018

Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art is honored to present larger-than-life painted textiles and drawings by Nancy Erickson in her exhibition, Encounters.  Erickson’s works will be shown in the Wylder Gallery from November 15, 2017 through March 1, 2018.  Encounters is a touring exhibition that is brought to us through the Montana Art Gallery Directors Association (MAGDA.)  MAGDA is an organization devoted to providing professional development and resource sharing for galleries and museum throughout the state.

Erickson is nationally-recognized fiber artist who lives in Pattee Canyon outside of Missoula. She was raised on a cattle ranch near Livingston.  She holds a BA in Zoology and an MS in Nutrition from the University of Iowa and an MA and MFA from the University of Montana. Her work resides in numerous public and private collections and has been featured in over 500 exhibitions nationally and abroad, most recently in a fiber work symposium in Raleigh, NC, the Museum of Art & Design in NY, and in 2013 at the Montana Museum of Art & Culture. 

Erickson’s artwork recognizes the complex relationship between wild animals and humans. Since the 1960s, she has created remarkable fabric constructions, quilts, paintings, and drawings and is renowned for her pioneering free-floating quilted paintings.  This exhibition features her large-scale, free-form textile compositions which are inspired by the cave art found at Chauvet Pont d’Arc and Lascaux.

Woman to Woman: Female Portrayals
November 6, 2017 - January 8, 2018

Woman to Woman: Female Portrayals showcases a collection of works by women artists who lived in Northcentral Montana during the early 20th Century. With a special focus on portraiture of female subjects by women artists, Curator of Art Kristi Scott states, “These paintings provide a glimpse of women’s views of the world in which they lived and provide aspects of Northcentral Montana’s (post-Charlie Russell) history and culture, as told through artwork. Art works by Mary Trinitas Morin (a Sister of Providence) and Mother Raphael Schweda (an Ursuline Sister) offer a rare glimpse into the creative spirit of local women religious and are presented alongside works by Fra Dana, Josephine Hale and Val Knight, who were all accomplished local artists in their own right. Women’s voices in history, even as artists, have long been silenced or ignored, and this exhibition aims to shine a light on female perspectives.”

This special exhibition brings together art works spanning the decades between 1925-1955 and features works from The Square’s Permanent Collection, University of Providence’s Galerie Trinitas and Ursuline Centre (both located in Great Falls), Missoula’s Montana Museum of Art and Culture and a few pieces borrowed from private collections. Scott notes, “During the same era that Mother Raphael Schweda was painting realistic portraits of her students and religious figures in her studio high atop the Ursuline’s Mount Angela Academy on Central Avenue, artist Fra Dana was painting at a prolific rate across town in the Blackstone Apartments. In one of Dana’s impressionistic pieces Bird Cage (borrowed from the Montana Museum of Arts and Culture in Missoula, MT) a little girl sits by a caged bird admiring the tiny captive. Another exceptional Dana piece is a loan from local historian Ken Robison and features prominent local resident Sue Ford Bovey (1907-1988). Her flushed cheeks and bright eyes in the stunning portrait convey vitality. Dana’s works serve as both a testament to her talent and also a record of her experiences.”

Bob Durden: Earthly Delights
September 21, 2017 - December 28, 2017

In this stunning body of work Montana artist Bob Durden expresses a connection to humanity through landscape. He uses encaustic and oil paint to depict scenes in nature that resonate with the human condition. Sometimes detailed and other times very simple, he showcases coexistence in this series of work that uses line and color to orientate the viewer. A few of his pieces are abstract in design, emulating a cross cut of a tree or a child’s drawing while others are impressionistic versions teeming with plant life; all are connected to the world around us.

“Growing up and living much of my life in Montana, I have always been drawn to the landscape for inspiration. I am continually struck by the surrounding beauty. The relationship between humans and nature is focal to most of my work, though ironically, humans are rarely ever present. An analogy is made between the strength of a tree and the will of an individual. A tree’s limbs sway in the breeze and grow continually upward in the same manner that the character of an individual is determined by external forces, but more importantly by desire and perseverance.

In recent paintings and drawings, I have explored sublime aspects of nature. My intention is to convey a message that is politically neutral, preferring to convey an attitude about the balance and sense of calm that can be found in a chaotic world. I find inspiration in my gardens and the creatures that inhabit it. Big truths can be found while looking at the phenomenal world that is spread beneath our feet. I desire that the viewer finds beauty in my work that will inspire them to further seek out the joy and wonder in their own surroundings—whether it is a bee in flight, the symphony of color in a garden, or the simple joy that can be found when examining a blade of grass swaying in the breeze.”--Bob Durden

Bob Durden has been making art for most of his life. With experience in theater, design and art he is no stranger to the modalities of creativity. Durden holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Painting and Communication Arts from Eastern Montana College (presently, Montana State University, Billings) and has earned a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Art from Montana State University, Bozeman. He currently resides in Billings, Montana where he serves as the Senior Curator of Art for the prestigious Yellowstone Art Museum and continues to make art.

Truth in the Pursuit of Delight: Oil Paintings by David Mensing
August 3, 2017-November 3, 2017

“In my work, I focus on the innumerable factors that affect the way we perceive a scene before us. Every experience is enhanced by our perceptions. To paint literally, one would paint a clear sky with nothing but blue and white. As a painter, I strive to share my experience of the moment. Experience is more than just sight. A beautiful moment is beautiful to multiple senses. Even when it is not visible to a camera or even the naked eye, there is movement. The air moves. There is a breeze. The viewers point of reference shifts ever so slightly with each new moment. There is sound. There is aroma. Though striving to contain any beautiful moment brings wonderful assurance that the experience is too profound to ever really be contained. -David Mensing

David Mensing grew up in Iowa, surrounded by wide prairies and carefully groomed cornfields. When he moved to the West as a young man, he was captivated by its raw beauty. He currently lives in Albion, Idaho with his wife and their three children. In addition to being an artist, Mensing has worked professionally as a Camp Director and a certified white-water rafting guide and at one time he was a talented pole vaulter. He graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and his award winning paintings have been featured in exhibitions around the nation and are held in collections across the globe. He has studied extensively with Robert Moore and his ambition is to know and share the beauty of the natural world through his work. Mensing’s architectural background contributes to his compelling designs and numerous periodicals have highlighted his work with cover images and feature articles, including American Art Collector, Southwest Art and Western Art Collector. Recent national awards include Southwest Art 'Award of Excellence' in Icons of the West 2014 and 'Professional Juror / Best of Show' in Art and Soul 2016.

Betty LaDuke: Celebrating Life
June 15, 2017-October 20, 2017

Opening Reception: June, 15, 2017; 5-7pm

Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art is honored to host artist Betty LaDuke in this one woman retrospective exhibition, Celebrating Life.  LaDuke is a well-traveled and prolific artist who shares her appreciation for world cultures through her artwork.  Her wood panels are routed into interesting shapes that complement each work and are painted with colorful acrylic paints.  They will be up over the course of five months in three separate galleries and offer a comprehensive look at LaDuke’s work that spans over six decades.  LaDuke’s exhibition is sponsored by A Healthy Horizon in Great Falls, Montana.

Betty LaDuke is the child of immigrant parents and began creating art at the age of 8.  Over the decades she has continued to paint, draw and print make while seeking to bring awareness to social justice, female artists in Third World and the culture of agriculture.  She has traveled the globe and produced work that features individuals from Malaysia, Africa, Vietnam, California and Mexico, to name just a few.  This retrospective exhibition allows relatively isolated Montanans a rare opportunity to catch a glimpse of the world around them through the eyes of this artist. One her website, she shares the following summary:  "At the journey’s end, the challenge is to convert the essence of monetary events into archetypal images. Between myth and reality, my large acrylic paintings evolve slowly to reflect local traditions as well as common emotions and aspirations. My celebration is of life and our universal need for peace."

Ashleigh McCann: Where the Landscape Led Me
May 23, 2017-August 30, 2017

Opening Reception: May, 23, 2017; 5-7pm

Ashleigh McCann: Where the Landscape Led Me will be on view in the Mungus-Volk Gallery over the summer months at Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art.  This exhibition is a series of expressionist oil paintings and the culminating exhibition of McCann’s 2016-17 Artist in Residence (AIR) position.  As part of McCann’s residency, she has taught art classes with each art teacher, shared her talents with GFPS students throughout the school year and maintained a studio at The Square.  The AIR program is made possible by a partnership between The Square and the Great Falls Public School district.  

McCann is a native of Great Falls who earned her BFA in drawing and painting from BYU-Idaho in 2016.  Regarding this series of oil paintings the artist remarks:  I am captivated by the Western scenery as viewed from the passenger seat of the car. Watching the seemingly static and unmovable landscape shift into dynamic, changing planes has influenced this organic and movement-based imagery. I am interested in the small grasses that bend in the wind, and in the stones and mountains that seem to change when I move past them. Observing the landscape from a swiftly changing vantage point has given me time to reflect on being fluid, bendable, and non-rigid.

Please join us at The Square as we celebrate with an Opening Reception on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 from 5:00-7:00 P.M. Meet the artist and experience her works while enjoying complimentary beverages and appetizers.

VSA: Annual Arts Exhibition
June 6, 2017-July 28, 2017

Opening Reception: June 20, 2017; 11am-1pm

VSA, the international organization on arts and disability, was founded more than 35 years ago by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to provide arts and education opportunities for people with disabilities and increase access to the arts for all. The Square’s annual VSA Art Exhibition will be on display beginning June 6, 2017 in the Wylder Gallery.  The exhibition will showcase the work of students with special needs engaged in classes at The Square, namely from the Easter Seals – Goodwill Adult Day Program. The annual VSA – Montana Arts Exhibition showcases the accomplishments of The Square’s student – artists with special needs over a year’s time. Students enrolled in special needs programs at The Square meet quarterly to engage in mixed media and ceramics based classes that continue to stir the imagination and uphold the intuitive art making process that these individuals are naturally gifted with.   Allowing students 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. Working with and getting to know this ever– evolving group of artists enriches the lives of those involved in the VSA experience.

Great Falls Public Schools Student Exhibition
April 13, 2017-May 29, 2017

Paris Gibson Square is delighted to once again host the Annual GFPS Art Students Exhibition!  Please mark your calendars and attend the opening reception on Thursday, April 20 from 4:30-6:30 P.M. 

The Square will present the 10th annual Zach Culliton Merit of Distinction award to student Dixie Ryan at the reception that honors Zach’s memory and his spirit.  We invite the public to attend the reception, ceremony and to celebrate the art created in the GFPS classrooms with us on this special occasion.

Neil Chaput de Saintonge and Keith Graham:
Chasing Time:
Montana's One-Room Schools sponsored by MAGDA
April 15, 2017-June 1, 2017

There are fewer than two hundred one-room schools in all of the US; Montana is home to approximately sixty of them.  Neil Chaput de Saintonge and Keith Graham have travelled to over 20 of these schools to document the teachers, students and places. Their photo-essay depicts the story of the one room school in rural America. Though the collection of photographs depicts various schools in different towns across Montana they share similarities and begin to tell a singular narrative.

This exhibition of 25 photographs, curated from more than 150 images, focuses on the daily activities of class work and the intimate bond between these dedicated teachers and their pupils. Also included are images of the school houses which puts into perspective the geographic isolation and uniquely Montanan landscape.

Neil Chaput de Saintonge founded Rocky Mountain School of Photography with his wife Jeanne in Missoula in 1989.  He has been teaching photography for over 40 years.

Keith Graham is Associate Professor of photojournalism at The University of Montana’s School of Journalism.

Art Auction After-Sale
April 17, 2017-May 25, 2017

Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art invites the public to purchase the artworks from The Square’s 20th annual Art Auction in the after sale that goes through May.  The work is on display in the Mungus/Volk gallery at a final sale price point.  If you are interested in owning a wonderful piece of art of your own while supporting The Square’s Exhibitions Department, please see the reception desk to fill out a purchase form.

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:

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.



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 Fisher, Jr., 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.

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 two BFAs from Virginia Commonwealth University at Richmond, VA; one in Painting & Printmaking and the other in Sculpture & Extended Media.

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.

Daydreams on Paper: Mercedes Brown
November 16, 2016 -January 13, 2017

“I have tried different mediums, but watercolor is my passion. It is unpredictable, exciting and fresh and it never obeys. It takes on a life of its own and the results are never the same.” -Mercedes Brown

Great Falls’ artist Mercedes Brown was born in the south Caribbean, on the island of Puerto Rico, which is located in a tropical climate zone. Mercedes's single mother packed their bags after her only child graduated from high school and relocated to New York City to further her own design career. Though Mercedes was only 16 years old at the time, her sight was set on attending college and she was accepted into Auburn University in Alabama. It was here that she met her husband, Jack Brown, who had enrolled in college after serving in the war. In 1953 she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and married; her husband joined the United States Air Force and went off to war again. Mercedes began taking courses through the Famous Artist School of Connecticut via the U. S. Postal Service (the equivalent of a modern day on-line course), to pass the time.

The Famous Artist School of Connecticut was founded in 1948 by Albert Dorne and the courses were led by accomplished members of the New York Society of Illustrators. Instructors included Norman Rockwell, John Atherton and Austin Briggs among others. Students would receive a painting, illustrating or cartooning lesson and work on it at home. Once completed, the work was mailed in to be critiqued by at least two instructors and the student was given feedback for improvements. The lessons focused on techniques about light, shadow, line work, color blending and other essential applications. 24 lessons in total were completed by the student, taking approximately three years. After completion of the course work, Brown picked up watercolor as her medium of choice and has been transferring her thoughts onto paper ever since.
Brown continued to paint as her family moved with her husband’s assignments to Japan, Maine and eventually Great Falls, MT. Here she took classes through Gallery 16, where she is currently a working member, and Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art. She learned from local talents Martha Mans, Betty Lynch and Dave Maloney and sketched scenes from around town with her friend Val Knight. It was Jean Halverson's workshop at The Square that got her hooked on the wet on wet style where the artist washes, or applies water, to the entire piece of paper to facilitate blending. Though her process leaves room for spontaneous results, the artist states, “Design is very important, one must start with good shapes, tonal values, patterns and colors.” Over the years she has won awards and been accepted into numerous shows and competitions. Perhaps the scenes in her paintings ,(often times based around nature), are influenced by the climate she grew up in. Her images possess a sultry quality and transport one to a place that is located in Mercedes's imagination. Daydreams on Paper invites the viewer to travel to a space embodied by peace and tranquility.

Light in Motion: Photography of Steve Wolff
November 28 - December 29, 2016 

Steve Wolff has been shooting photos as long as he can remember.  As a kid growing up in Montana, Steve spent his time exploring and climbing the mountains, camera in hand. A 20 year career in the U. S. Navy enabled Wolff to experience some of the world’s most amazing places. He captured moments within some of the most dangerous duty imaginable with film and photo. Wolff is embarking on his second career and studying photography at the University of Great Falls.

Light in Motion represents light captured while it is passing through incredibly beautiful locations in Montana. The time-lapses move through the light, framing the epic adventures across the mountains and prairies that Wolff embarks upon. The pursuit of light in photography is Wolff’s foremost quest and nature’s light forms moments that he seeks to preserve for the viewer with static, motion and long exposure shots. The moment can last hours or seconds and Wolff utilizes new technologies involving digital photography via Canon and GoPro cameras to encapsulate them. The time-lapse motion equipment is Dynamic Perception Stage Zero. Wolff’s use of this media allows for the viewer to truly experience the adventure as he captures the world in motion. “I like to tell a story. To put someone right where I am. Allow them to feel exactly what I did at that special moment. I invite you to experience the adventure.” 

The Other Yellowstone, Lee Silliman
August 25-November 28, 2016

The Other Yellowstone features 52 photographs by Montanan Lee Silliman.  Silliman’s black and white images were taken on his 8x10 inch view camera and offer a rare look at the backcountry landscape of Yellowstone.  Seventeen years of day hiking, mule packing, canoeing and back packing have led to this composition of images featuring rarely seen geysers, hot springs, mountains, canyons and more.  This show opens in conjunction with the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary.  Silliman will offer a special lecture on the use of a 5x7 camera in the backcountry, free of charge, Tuesday, November 29th from 5-7pm!.

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.

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: 

Above the Fruited Plains: Dwayne Wilcox
August 1 - October 1

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.

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

Celebrating the Beauty of Wood: Dan Price
June 13, 2016 - June 23, 2016

Celebrating the Beauty of Wood: Dan Price features 18 functional wood carvings created from various local and exotic woods.  The centerpiece of this exhibition features a large sculpture made of wood and steel that is part of The Square’s Permeant Collection.    Price is primarily a sculptural artist who enjoys working with natural local materials.  He notes of his functional carvings, “Wood provides me a readily available medium.  Often, I use resourced and repurposed chunks, logs, slabs, and boards sometimes scraps of wood.  I chose a particular piece because of its unique color, grain, texture and shape.  To elevate the common or often rejected chunk of wood to the status an aesthetically pleasing, intellectually engaging, functional and sometimes precious object is very satisfying to me.  I hope you will appreciate and enjoy them as I do.”  A reception, free and open to the public will be held at the Square on Friday, June 17, 2016 from 4:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. Light refreshments and sweets will be served.

Dan Price was born in Cedar Falls, Iowa and began carving wood as a young child.  Early on it was toys constructed from scraps of wood and by ten years old, Price began building himself a go cart. During his High school career his love of art was encouraged by faculty who were recent University graduates and his skills were further developed in the art department.  After graduating, Price enrolled in Fort Hays Kansas State University studying visual arts.  He obtained degrees with emphasis in both sculpture and ceramics before later attending the University of Oregon graduating with an MFA in Sculpture.  Since that time he has attended several colleges and universities and is a life-long student as well as a teacher.  He has taught at universities in Kansas, Oregon, New York, Montana and now teaches Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art. 

Art Auction After Sale
April 17 – May 17, 2016

The artworks in this gallery are available at a final sale price point.  If interested in owning a wonderful piece of art of your own please see the reception desk to fill out a purchase form.

*Purchased artworks cannot be removed from the exhibit until May 17, 2016.

Great Falls Public Schools Art Students Exhibition
also on view GFPS faculty work

April 23 - May 28, 2016
Exhibit Opening April 28, 2016; 4:30p-6:30p

Presentation announcing the 7th Annual Zach Culliton Merit of Distinction Award begins at 5:15 pm

The Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art is proud to present this annual art exhibition by local public school students. The work represents a year’s worth of instruction by some of the finest art educators working in the state of Montana. We not only congratulate these students for their accomplishments, but thank the classroom artists/educators who lead by example—challenging area youth to fully explore their potential—and the parents who encourage their children’s development in the arts.


This body of work explores memories- how we store them, how we construct our realities with them, and what is left as the passage of time fades them.  I use the symbol of the tree like a shrine or scaffolding that remnants of memories can be hung on.  I use images of ephemera like hair brushes and ribbons that suggest childhood memories, and images of feathers and bones that suggest a more raw, wild emptiness as memory fades.  The tree is a powerful symbol to me for many reasons. It exists both in the ground and air, symbolizing the seen and unseen, past and future, underworld and heaven.  The horse images are like monuments, large powerful creatures frozen in time that I overlay with moving elements like feathers.   I am influenced heavily by the landscape of my childhood, so a sparse wide horizon is a common element in my work.  The landscape provides both a stable ground line for my paintings and a space for meditation.

Bozeman based artist Christine Sutton grew up with the Montana landscape. Nature and western aesthetics are part of her fabric. Her colorful paintings focus on scenes from the natural world. Many feature horizons from the stark yet beautiful prairie, landscapes perhaps first experienced near her hometown of Billings. Recently she has been experimenting with adding kinetic qualities to her shadow-box style works, such as moving waves or a small tornado. Sutton’s signature is visually present in handcrafted details: etched flowers and leaves create texture on the side of a frame, distinctly shaped swallowtail birds fly off into the distance and brand new paintings feature worn or antiqued surfaces. Recently she has begun a series that incorporates trees. On the empty tree branches hang mirrors, antlers and other ephemera, symbolic details paying tribute to memory loss of loved ones. Sutton often employs a central image - a barn, a horse, a ship at sea, paper airplanes or other interesting subject matter, which remind the viewer of the simple pleasures in the world. Her techniques with layered paint, constructed patina and charming hand crafted details entice one to look closer at her lovely two and three-dimensional works.


My Childhood Home I See Again
(excerpt, Abraham Lincoln)
Memory! thou midway world
'Twixt earth and paradise,
Where things decayed and loved ones lost
In dreamy shadows rise.

When I moved back to Montana after 30 years away, I started exploring the idea that land can represent time and memory, and my work became about the concept of ‘home’. Having moved around so much in my childhood, it’s an idea that has always been elusive to me. I feel a strong sense of belonging here, partially because of my family’s history, but also due to sense memories from my childhood, especially of my family's ranch on Red Lodge Creek. The land is scattered with old farm equipment, sheds, animal bones, homestead cabins and other abandoned and decaying relics. The skulls, many of which were collected there, pay tribute to that place, while celebrating the beauty and intricacy of bones. I'm interested in combining iconic 'western' imagery with symbolism that is part of my personal vocabulary, in order to elicit new meanings and associations.

Jennifer French is captivated by the natural world. This Billings based artist returned to her Montana roots after more than two decades on the East Coast, where she earned a bachelor of fine arts in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design. Through her art work, the mother of two pays tribute to the family ranch in southern Montana where she spent many of her summers as a child. French incorporates acrylic paint, polymer clay, paper ephemera, and found objects to create works that are both familiar and mysterious, charming and sinister. Her work is influenced by folk tales, medieval art and Victorian photographs and evokes surrealism qualities. Her paintings often juxtapose animals from the natural world with proper attire and formal poses of the modern age. A recent series on skulls incorporates Western landscapes in a three dimensional form for this special exhibition.

Exhibit Sponsored in part by Great Falls OBGYN Associates

Alan McNiel’s family moved west in the 1970’s from Tennessee to a Arizona town near the White Mountain Apache Reservation. Dessert horizons featuring jagged buttes, smooth mesas and the fauna and flora of this dry climate peppered the landscape. An ancient pueblo ruin was perched on a mesa at the edge of town and red chili peppers dried in the sun on the sides of stucco houses. In high school McNiel worked with an archaeological team excavating an early pueblo which had been abandoned for centuries. The first step was to remove rocks and earth with picks and shovels. Next, they gently removed delicate ceramic and stone artifacts with small trowels. McNiel notes that this experience has influenced every segment of his career as an artist. Although the paintings in this exhibition have more to do with impressionism and contemporary realism than archeology, McNiel’s appreciation for Pueblo ceramics is always somewhere under the surface - like foundation blocks hidden from sight. McNiel embraces a practice in his art that Navaho weavers have employed for centuries. The artist intentionally leaves a mistake which is seen as a door for the spirits to come and go. Though his wife and he joke about this custom serving as an excuse for all of his mistakes, McNiel sincerely thinks it is an important idea. In some ways it reminds him of the sense of open space within a painting - where something is left unsaid. This space encourages the viewer to fill in the gaps with their own imagination.

Alan McNiel has created this series of large scale oil paintings for The West, based on his original photographs in order to create modern day artifacts. “I like the impressionist idea that we mix colors within our minds, and believe there are also other ways that perceptions help us complete images as we bring our own thoughts and memories into the understanding of a painting.” McNiel seeks to express a sense of everyday experience in the year 2015 with scenes of Montana businesses, streets, small towns and other familiar scenes. Though the urban landscapes that are the focus of his paintings are not unusual at this time, McNiel’s series documents a 21st century Montana that will someday be a fleeting memory. Perhaps these memories will serve as a catalyst for thought, a record of what has been, and a point of reflection. McNiel envisions that in a few years these common everyday pictures will be about life in the “old west.”

Alan McNiel graduated from Colorado State with a BFA and then achieved a MA from the University of Montana in Missoula - both times with emphasis on ceramics and drawing. Also during those years McNiel and his wife Debbie built a home and studio in the community of Yaak, Montana. After graduate school he worked as a potter in his studio, firing a wood-burning kiln about once a month for the next ten to fifteen years. In 1995, McNiel began painting full-time at first working with watercolor, and then with oil and mixed-media. McNiel often has more than one series of paintings going at the same time – moving back and forth between various subjects and approaches to media. His enthusiasm to try new things, media, technique, and subject matter maintains a sense of vibrancy in his work.

“My recent work incorporates a mix of stained glass, sandblasted glass and fired glass paint. Tree rings and wood paneling are used as another representation of trees and my hope was to be able to create a kind of collage of images that overlap and intersect in a less literal way than a landscape made of just trees, birds and leaves.” Glass Forest: Recent Works by Kiki Renander explores the art of traditional stained glass reinvigorated with new technical processes to create scenes from the forest. Renander regularly turns her own photographs of adventures to the mountains into stencils, minimizing the design so that it translates clearly in her medium. She utilizes texture through etching and sandblasting and adds materials including glass paint and copper foiled stained glass to re-create trees that she has been observing for a lifetime.

Kiki Renander has been creating works of stained glass for 17 years and making art for most of her life. Renander attend the University of Montana in Missoula and graduated in 1998 with a Bachelor’s of Art degree. She has ties to Great Falls where she attended junior high and high school.  Though she had primarily been a painter in college, she was always drawn to glass. After graduation she served as an intern in Sun Valley, Idaho with glass artist and Great Falls native, Jacques Bordeleau and returned to Missoula to start her own small studio.  In 2004 Renander attended the Pilchuck Glass School outside of Seattle as a scholarship student. It was here that she experienced the possibilities of doing sand blasted etching on glass after attending Peter McGrain’s glass painting work shop in Bengin, Washington. At the workshop she learned the traditional techniques of glass painting, silver staining and some basic fusing. By combining these techniques with traditional stained glass methods Renander creates her unique glass panels.  Renander primarily does commissions for homes and commercial spaces nowadays and has been a member of The Artists’ Shop Co-op in Missoula, Montana for the past 15 years. Her one of a kind pieces are enjoyed in private residences and commercial enterprises, including the Paws Up Ranch near Ovando and the Red Bird Restaurant in Missoula, Montana.

Montana Clay: The Past Present & Future of Ceramics Under the Big Sky  features over 75 artists that have shaped our state into an international hub for ceramic art.  The exhibition’s Founding Mudders & Potters Gallery will feature 17 past-masters from Montana  that played a pivotal role in changing the way artists work with clay across the globe from the 1950’s on. Over 50 current working artists from across Montana will round out the exhibition; featuring pottery, ceramic sculpture and installation art – much of which comes from artists of national and international caliber. The groups inaugural exhibition is on view at Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art September 11th – December 1st, 2015. For more information on the Montana Clay membership, visit

Manel Àlvarez : A Journey
July 28, 2015 - October 16, 2015

Free Opening Reception, July 28, 5:30-7:30

It is very difficult for me to define or to classify the style of my work. When I must define it, I use the words synthesis - essence; two words which are very similar yet complementary.

As a sculptor I have always focused on two objectives. The first is to achieve a sense of weightlessness in my pieces through the use of line. Lines define the volumes and create the rhythm which gives the pieces (actually quite heavy) the sensation of weightlessness, or of defying gravity. The second objective is to capture the essence or the energy of what the work is trying to represent instead of simply making an interpretation of form. Through this method of abstraction and use of lines I give birth to the spirit, the soul of the object. The form, although simplified, is evident through the energy/soul of the work.  Although the pureness of the line in the sculptures shows the influence of Brancusi and Arp, my pieces are both unique and personal. I have found inspiration in many themes and places: bullfighting, Africa, birds, torsos, and my current series ‘The Old Testament.’ What ties them together is the search for the essence of the subject, the corresponding use of material: wood, marble, granite, iron, and basalt, and the stimulating contrast and tension between opposing shapes and materials.

The pieces selected for this exhibit are from different collections and different phases of my career as a sculptor. The inspiration may be different in each case but the approach and aesthetic solution are undeniably “Manel Alvarez”. My ability to persuade the materials to collaborate with me can be witnessed in works of wood, iron and stone. The viewer will have the opportunity to view the progression and similarities in my work over a large span of my career.  - Manel Àlvarez

Manel Àlvarez was born in Sant Feliu de Codines (Barcelona, Spain) and studied art in the San Juan Bosco School in Barcelona and began sculpting religious figures in wood. Later, on a scholarship from the Pagani Foundation in Milan, he went to Carrara, Italy where he began working in marble for the first time. Working with marble and the daily contact with sculptors of differing levels of experience, combined to gradually transform his work; there was a simplification from the neoclassical to a more personal style, synthesizing human and organic forms.  Àlvarez spent 14 years working in Italy and exhibiting in different countries throughout Europe including France, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg, Italy and Spain as well as Iran, Mexico, Brazil and the United States. In 1996, Àlvarez was commissioned to create a sculpture for the Olympics that were held in Atlanta, GA.  In 2001 he completed the first piece of what would become his “Old Testament” series. This series proved to be the most exhilarating project of his career to date as he was challenged with finding solutions for the delicate theme, both in form and materials. His goal to create and exhibit this collection was realized in 2011 with an exhibition in the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem, Israel. He continues working on this series which fascinates and inspires him.

Exhibit Sponsored By:

The Blind Men & The Elephant: Drawings by Steven Glueckert
June 1, 2015 - August 1, 2015

This series of drawings were created using oil pastels, cattle markers, Keno crayons, and China markers. The drawings are directly inspired by the ancient parable which has a great deal to teach us today. The subject matter seemed natural to develop in black and white since at the core of the tale is the metaphor of blindness, contrasting the worlds of light and dark, the seen and unseen. The story contrasts the ideas of what we can actually grasp as real through evidence, with what we might perceive in our mind’s eye as truth. And in the end, how utterly wrong everyone can be.

The original Blind men and the Elephant parable originated in China sometime during the Han dynasty (202 BC-220 AD). Over the years many versions of the tale have been generated including the Jainist version: Elephant and the Blind Men, the Buddhist version Parable of the Blind Men and the Elephant, the Sufi/Hindu version from Tales from Masnavi, Jalal al-Din Rumi translated by A.J. Arberr: The Elephant in the dark, on the reconciliation of contrarieties, and the Discordian version by Reverend Loveshade: Five Blind Men and an Elephant. Needless to say, over the years there have been many versions and interpretations of the parable. For this exhibition, Stephen Glueckert was inspired by text created by John Godfrey Saxe, and indeed the titles for the drawings are directly from his poem. John Godfrey Saxe  provides a simple yet brilliant version of this most insightful and timeless tale, in the end realizing that the only living being that sees anything is the Elephant. Works by John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887) including The Blind Men and the Elephant used in this exhibition have remained in the public domain. The poem is provided with gallery support materials.

Stephen Glueckert was born in Missoula, Montana and received a BFA from the University of Idaho and an M.Ed in Art Education from Western Washington University.  He has taught throughout the Northwest, The University of Montana, and the University of Papua New Guinea. He spent ten years at the Northwest Children’s Home as a counselor and teacher. He has been a recipient of a Montana Individual Artist’s Fellowship. In addition to being a practicing studio artist, he has written extensively about contemporary artists living and working in Montana. He has been Curator at the Missoula Art Museum since 1992.

Contemporary Works of Val Knight
June 5, 2015 - August 31, 2015

I like best to paint for my own enjoyment, working out a concept which emerges as I paint.
-Val Knight, 1987

Val Knight’s life was enveloped in art. From an early age she created expressive portraits of friends and drew iconic images that could pass as front cover art for the Saturday Morning Post. Later in life her paintings and sculpture broke regional molds of what was expected in the western art world that was nurtured in Great Falls. This exhibition celebrates the life work of Val Knight who has left an impression that is lasting and deep.

Knight’s expressionistic landscapes transport the spectator to another time and place while her unique sculpture connects human emotion with material form. Her impressionistic portraits of family, friends and clients communicates her love of people and community. Experimentation by this dynamic artist include works in cattle marker, encaustic wax and textiles in addition to more traditional materials such as oil, pastel and watercolor. Knight was renowned for her ceramics, (the ‘House Angel’ in particular,) and was accomplished at the pottery wheel. She produced sculpture and hand built pieces with innovative glazes and grew her knowledge in the medium throughout her career with workshops at the College of Great Falls and the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena. Knight also engaged in advanced painting courses at the local College and traveled to Europe to further develop her skill set and senses. Though her lifework was mainly created in her hometown of Great Falls, Montana, this woman was worldly in many ways and admired the work of Van Gough, Modigliani, Picasso and others.

From landscapes to Indian figurines, Val Knight was serious about creating and was a very productive artist. As a result, a diverse legacy of wonderful works remain in collections owned by her family, friends and local residents. Knight is remembered as humble and reserved, yet eager to learn and teach. Her family and friends describe her as creative, energetic, enthusiastic, hearty and always encouraging.

This exhibition is sponsored by Bison Ford

Alas, The Pelicans: Randi O'Brian
June 7, 2015 - September 11, 2015

"Alas, for the pelicans! Their golden age is past; but it has much exceeded in duration that of man.” -Matthew Flinders

Mine is a plight of a land left behind. The week I left Montana, to begin a career in New York State, I came upon a dead pelican alongside the river while fishing. This is a turbulent time for me. A time when decisions have to be made, I am torn between ambition and duty.

“Nature’s prime favourites were the Pelicans;
High-fed, long-lived, and sociable and free.”
-The Pelican Island, From Canto Fifth.

The journey, as with many, starts with an inevitable fate that brings consequence. But, this isn’t the point, this isn’t the story; I have been graced with a lush environment of mountains and plains, satisfying in its completeness. My departure and return to Montana brought to my attention the contradictions of creative life and death. It is a contradiction of strange, but necessary extremes. The pelicans provide a poignant metaphor for an individual that is paired and banded to not only a partner, but also a region.  The day I returned to Montana, I came upon an over-wintering Pelican. He sat in the morning river steam, motionless. Fate wanted me to see this…

“When, lo! A spectacle of strange extremes
Awaken’d sweet and melancholy thoughts:
All that is helpless, beautiful endearing
In infancy, in prime youth, in love;
All that is mournful in decay, old age,
And dissolution.”
-The Pelican Island, From Canto Fifth.

The creative dissolution I felt in New York left me longing for my prime youth and love I left in Montana. “Alas, for the Pelicans!” is an homage to Montana. It is a tribute to the literal and metaphorical births and deaths. It is an accolade to being banded and paired. It is an apologue of a bird, or an individual, in a state with outstretched borders that provides a ring of security and captivity.

“They ranged in wedded pairs, or martial bands,
For play or slaughter. Oft have I beheld
A little army take the wat’ry field.
With outstretch’d pinions form a spacious ring.”
-The Pelican Island, From Canto Fifth.

Randi O’Brien is a ceramic artist, historian, writer, presenter, and educator from the Rocky Mountains. She received both an MFA in Ceramics and a MA in Art History from The University of Montana. O’Brien was a former fly-fishing guide, rafting guide, and ski-instructor.  She continues to spend her evenings on the rivers with her husband and young daughter, and winters in the back-country and is currently the Assistant Professor of Ceramics for Montana State University in Billings.

Sunken and Discovered: Danielle O'Malley
June 19, 2015 - August 18, 2015 

Born and raised in the rural Lakes Region of New Hampshire, Danielle O'Malley has always had a passion for both art and nature.  In this exhibition, O’Malley creates art that is fluid, fragile, has movement, and draws the viewer’s attention with tactile qualities. The artist explores concepts of relationships, particularly within the natural environment, and how narratives are created through gesture, interaction, and proximity.

I spent my childhood exploring the woods, gardening, swimming, and prodding through tide pools in search of unknown treasures. I am drawn to the same activities in my adulthood, and am constantly curious about phenomena in the natural world. My travels are sources of inspiration as I am exposed to, and amazed by, new plants, animals, and environments. I am attracted to natural forms because of the movement, fragility, fluidity, and tactile qualities they possess. I strive to have my structures, designs, and configurations reflect these characteristics.

As you explore this exhibit, you will experience my fascination of the contents of the sea. When I was younger, I remember when the first pictures of the sunken Titanic were released. These images have stuck with me. There is something romantic about a sunken ship, and the ocean taking human made objects, and slowly turning it into something of its own over time. Plants begin to grow on the furniture, coral starts to take root on the floor and ceiling, the structure deteriorates, and pottery that was once used for dining ceremonies is either broken or becomes homes for sea creatures. A site that was once full of living human history becomes an underwater graveyard where nature will take its course. In the wake of people dying, the flora and fauna of the sea finds shelter and lives. The epic battle of man versus nature becomes a collaboration of the two opposing sides - a dance of life and death.  The complexity of this juxtaposition is sad, beautiful, and mysterious all at the same time.  - Danielle O’Malley

Danielle O’Malley is a 2012 Summa Cum Laude graduate of Plymouth State University in NH. After graduation, she was accepted to Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Newcastle, ME for a six week residency. Ensuing her residency, she moved to Helena, MT where she interned at Free Ceramics, assisted Tara Wilson, interned for Beth Cavener, and worked at the Archie Bray Clay Business.

Vision, Strength, Access: VSA Montana – Arts Annual Exhibition
July 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.

Great Falls Public Schools Art Students Exhibition
also on view GFPS faculty work

April 23 - May 28, 2015
Exhibit Opening April 23, 2015; 4:30p-6:30p

Presentation announcing the 8th Annual Zach Culliton Merit of Distinction Award begins at 5:15 pm

The Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art is proud to present this annual art exhibition by local public school students. The work represents a year’s worth of instruction by some of the finest art educators working in the state of Montana. We not only congratulate these students for their accomplishments, but thank the classroom artists/educators who lead by example—challenging area youth to fully explore their potential—and the parents who encourage their children’s development in the arts.

The Warrior Art of John Isaiah Pepion
January 15, 2015 - April 13, 2015

Opening reception Thursday, January 15; 5:30-7:30pm

John Isaiah Pepion is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Nation in northern Montana who has created 18 drawings on antique ledger paper specifically for this exhibition that is open through the end of March. 

 “In this series of 18 drawings I explore the warrior art of Blackfeet culture through traditional ledger art.  I am interested in the story of the Blackfeet warrior and ceremonial aspects of Blackfeet culture and how they may be represented through my artwork. I utilize materials including antique ledger paper, oil based color pencils, and ink to manifest my ideas as art on paper. Warrior art is explored in this series and is inspired by oral tradition, family history, traditional designs, personal experience, and dreams.”

Colleen Fuhringer: All Things Left Unsaid
Opening reception Thursday, December 18; 5:30-7:30pm

All Things Left Unsaid features a mixed media installation that centers on intimacy, solitude , regrets and aspirations.  Furhinger works with furniture pieces and found objects to create environments that merge the familiar and the unexpected for her sculptural installations.  Colleen’s body of work will utilize an antique bedroom set as the narrative component.  She uses insulating foam, bubble wrap, fabric, poly-fil, twine and found objects throughout the piece.  Her intention is to “access a sensation within the viewer.” Furhinger notes that, “The bedroom is a quiet, intimate and sometimes solitary place.  It is where we can be alone with our thoughts - dreams and aspirations, regrets and lessons learned, all things left unsaid...Bubbling and churning, resurfacing and taking shape.  What is hidden and vulnerable is brought up, reassessed, and again tucked away.  Only to be taken over by sleep, darkness and silence.”

Fuhringer received her Master of Fine Arts from Montana State University, Bozeman in 2012 and now resides in Great Falls. 

Julia Galloway:The Place it is That We Call Home
December 18, 2014 - March 10, 2015

Opening reception Thursday, December 18; 5:30-7:30pm

The Place it is That We Call Home, is an an exhibition that explores utilitarian pottery inspired by domestic landscapes.  Galloway is a professor at the University of Montana, Missoula.  Her work has exhibited across the US, Canada and Asia and is included in collections at the Smithsonian, Renwick Gallery and the Archie Bray Foundation among others.  She serves on several boards that support the arts state-wide, is very involved with the local arts community in Missoula and is passionate about the ‘Ceramics Renaissance’ she is experiencing in Montana.

The Place it is That We Call Home” will showcase three aspects of home intermixed with background color on the wall, hanging pieces from the ceiling and interactive soundscapes. It will feature expanded sensory experiences beyond what one would anticipate with a ceramic exhibition as well as beautiful and inspiring pieces. 

Mary Ann Bonjorni: Legends Are History
Opening reception Thursday, December 18; 5:30-7:30pm

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Mary Ann Bonjorni migrated to the interior West in search of family roots and to research Western U.S. history. As an artist, she presents found and manufactured icons to suggest socio-political narratives. When not in the studio or teaching at the University of Montana, Mary Ann rides range for various ranches.  Mary Ann has exhibited throughout the Western United States in one-person and group shows. Parallel to her constructions and drawings, she also does site-specific art in rural locations.

ANOMALY: Recent works by Liisa Nelson
August 12 – December 20, 2014
Opening reception Tuesday, August 12; 5:30-7:30pm

"My work is all about process. It is an inquiry and a discovery of science and self with experimentation and openness at the center. Letting go of control of the materials and introducing elements of the unknown, especially where clay and glazes are concerned, is a way of allowing nature to play about in the work, opening it to unpredictable possibilities. I am continually surprised by both the materials and the ideas that come out of my own mind, unplanned and through the work. Dreams, ideas and symbols take on forms, often without significance at first. As I work spontaneously and combine elements they start to take on complexity and meaning."

Liisa Nelson, 2014

Liisa Nelson was born and raised in Montana. She attended middle school and high school in Great Falls before moving to Tacoma Washington to attend Pacific Lutheran University, earning a BFA in ceramics. She spent several years working and teaching ceramics in Tacoma and in 2011 traveled to China for eight months to study Mandarin, teach English, and see the country. In September of 2013 she returned to Great Falls to be Artist in Residence for the Great Falls Public Schools. She taught ceramics and sculpture in the public schools and had the opportunity to teach along-side some of the teachers she had when she was a student in the district. Some of the school projects included animal figures, masks, functional jars and boxes, wheel-thrown pieces, tiles, totem poles, origami, and lanterns.

Build: Recent Works by L.A. Hoffman
August 5 – December 6
Opening reception Tuesday, August 5; 5:30-7:30pm

This exhibition of colorful, hand-pulled silkscreens will encompass three evolving phases of Seattle artist L.A. Hoffman’s current body of work.  This will include works inspired by the juxtaposition of Hoffman’s memories of her former life in rural Montana and her current examination of Seattle’s urban landscape, as well as works honoring the everyday acts of creating, making and doing and celebrating the care and effort which goes into things that are handmade. 

Also on display will be a body of work created from Hoffman’s recent project in which she challenged herself to complete one sketch per day for a year inspired by a variety of subject matter including handtools, totems of modernity, elements of city life and snippets of rural living. 

This exhibit is sponsored by the Great Falls OBGYN Associates.

Giving Up the Ghost: Recent Works by Kendra McKlosky
August 5 – December 6
Opening reception Tuesday, August 5; 5:30-7:30pm

Kendra McKlosky’s exhibition :  Giving Up the Ghost features work by a Montana artist who was raised in the mining town of Whitehall and spent her childhood summers playing in the shadow of the Golden Sunlight Mine. She states, “From the roof of a shed in our backyard I could look across the Jefferson Valley to the massive tailings piles where giant dump trucks trekked back and forth, looking tiny as ants on an anthill. My stepfather drove one of those trucks, and brought the cold violence of open pit mining home with him at the end of each shift. From an early age I balanced a strong dislike for the mine with an intense interest in the process of moving dirt with giant yellow monster trucks. I enjoyed watching the ants disappear and reappear like clockwork.”  Mining leaves no shortage of artifacts. The mark of industrial-scale mining is everywhere in towns like Whitehall and cities like Butte, Montana. In this exhibit, McKlosky’s works focus specifically on the Superfund cleanup sites surrounding Butte and the Clark Fork River. They explore the profound influence of mining upon the aesthetic sensibilities and overall development of human beings.  They also hint at a hopeful future for the place McKolsky calls home. Piles of toxic sediment are being excavated from the Clark Fork River nearly a century later. McKlosky notes, “Like a seed in the wake of a forest fire, historic mining towns are coming back, looking for a new way to grow and new niche to fill in the world.”

This exhibit is sponsored by The Club Cigar.

Dr. Richard Buswell: Close to Home
May 29 - August 30, 2014

Opening reception:
Thursday, May 29, 2014, 5:30-7:30 P.M.

Art Share Presentation by Dr. Richard Buswell begins at 6 P.M.
Free wine and hors d’oeuvres to be served.

Dr. Richard Buswell: Close to Home, was organized by the Montana Museum of Art & Culture at The University of Montana, Missoula, Montana

Dr. Richard Buswell has photographed Western settlement sites, ghost towns and frontier homesteads for more than 41 years.

Throughout his career, Buswell increasingly has moved closer to his subject matter, emphasizing corroded artifacts and decayed bones to reveal the ravages of time. Ironically, Buswell’s photographs are not about loss, but about preservation. Buswell documents the effects of extraction and industry, while also portraying the renewal of the land.

The Rainbow Senior Living Center located in downtown Great Falls has generously sponsored this exhibit.

Sukha Worob: Lost in the Crowd
July 22 – October 25
Opening reception Tuesday, August 5; 5:30-7:30pm

Sukah Worob’s exhibit: Lost in the Crowd will be on display in the Great Falls Community Clinic gallery from July 22nd until September 25th. Worob’s work represents an exploration into the structure of social connectedness versus belonging and includes a mural that visitors are encouraged to interact with.  He states, “Through our meaningful interactions as a social group we hold great creative potential. Potential that is much larger than each of us as individuals.  Our meaningful interactions within the realm of the Other define and develop who we are as social and cultural individuals. Other refers to everything peripheral to one's self, self being who we are as developed through our personal, familial, and social conditioning.”

Sukha Worob lives and works in Bozeman, Montana as a printmaker and installation artist. Worob obtained his BFA in printmaking from Northern Arizona University in 2006, and MFA from Montana State University in 2011. Worob's work explores contemporary approaches to the printmaking multiple through intermedia installation and interactive works. Worob has exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions both nationally and internationally.

This exhibit is sponsored by The Rainbow Senior Living Center.

VSA - Montana Arts Exhibition
May 27 - July 12, 2014
Opening reception: May 27, 2014, 10am-1pm

Art is for Everyone is the essence of the Education Department at Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art.  It is the museum’s vision to be a venue for all artists regardless of ability or disabilityIn that spirit, the museum has offered VSA Arts Open Studio classes since 1996 when The Square became an affiliate for VSA Montana, a chapter of VSA International Arts nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. This exhibition showcases work created in The Square’s VSA classes during the past year

VSA The International Organization on Arts and Disability is an international, nonprofit organization founded in 1974 by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to create a society where all people with disabilities learn through, participate in and enjoy the arts. The VSA Montana Arts program was founded on the belief that "…the arts belong to everyone and everyone deserves equal access."

VSA Montana Arts showcases the accomplishments of artists with disabilities and promotes increased access to the arts for people with disabilities.  It also provides educators, parents and artists with resources and the tools to support arts programming in schools and communities.

Line, Boundary and Potential: Recent Works by Louis Delegato
February 20 - July 19, 2014
Exhibit Opening February 20, 2014; 5:30p-7:30p
Art Share presentation by Louis begins at 6pm

This stunning exhibition, on display starting February 20th in the Square’s Thayer, Rothschiller and Mungas/ Volk galleries, highlights recent works by Portland artist Louis Delegato.  Although he is originally from Portland, Delegato spent much of his childhood in Billings, MT and received an art degree from Montana State University- Billings.

The exhibition includes two galleries filled with large, vibrantly colored, abstract encaustic pieces and oil paintings and a variety of remarkable steel sculptures.  Delegato’s expressive works convey chaos, energy, boundary and order all at once and are derived from his love of mark-making.  The two-dimensional pieces illustrate active line, energetic marks, amplified variation and unlimited potential, while the contrasting sculptural pieces represent strength, structure, industry and precision.  The third gallery features an installation work which incorporates both sight and sound to surround and contain the viewer demanding attention rather than requesting it.

When painting, I make an effort to remain in the passenger seat.  I try to allow my hand to make its marks….. I believe I paint so I have an excuse to move my arms around like that. 

The clear, unifying element in all of my work is the line.  It is the central character in the stories I express.  It directs the attention, defines boundaries, relates aspects, and illustrates more subtle effects like the suggestion of emotion or the exploration of relationships.  The line can be a physical and isolated mark or the coming together of planes.  It can also be a general direction or specific instruction, or simply the edge of something else.

I see myself in the lines I make.  I see my position in the world as well as my perspective of it.  If I want to know, the lines tell me everything…. even the things I don’t want to know.  Both the paintings and sculpture in this exhibition play with the notion of the line, and they each take it a step further to begin exploring the effects of boundary and potential on that line.  With some consideration, one can see that line is the idea both boundary and potential are built on.

---Louis Delegato

Great Falls Public Schools Art Students Exhibition
also on view GFPS faculty work

April 10 - May 16, 2014
Exhibit Opening April 10, 2014; 4:30p-6:30p

Presentation announcing the 7th Annual Zach Culliton Merit of Distinction Award begins at 5:15 pm

The Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art is proud to present this annual art exhibition by local public school students. The work represents a year’s worth of instruction by some of the finest art educators working in the state of Montana. We not only congratulate these students for their accomplishments, but thank the classroom artists/educators who lead by example—challenging area youth to fully explore their potential—and the parents who encourage their children’s development in the arts.

Conflict, Courtship, Ceremony, and the Chase: Renowned Ledger Artists From Across the Nation
January 8, 2014 - April 3, 2014
Exhibit Opening January 23, 2014; 5:30p-7:30p
Art Share Presentation by Monte Yellow Bird, Sr., Terrance Guardipee and Alaina Buffalo Spirit begins at 6:00 P.M.

Free wine and hors d’oeuvres to be served. This exhibition was co-curated by Black Pinto Horse- Monte Yellow Bird Sr. (Arikara/Hidatsa-Crow) and Laura Cotton, Curator of Art, Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art.

“Conflict, Courtship, Ceremony, and the Chase: Renowned Ledger Artists From Across the Nation,” brings together and highlights an unprecedented and elite group of award-winning, contemporary Native American ledger artists from around the country, while serving as a platform to showcase a transitional era in Native American art and history at the turn of the 20th century.  The objective of the exhibition, co-curated by Black Pinto Horse- Monte Yellow Bird Sr. (Arikara/Hidatsa-Crow), is to educate museum visitors on the evolution of this style of artwork by indigenous tribes and this important era of self expression.  On one side of the buffalo nickel, Native American ledger art reflects an Indigenous Warrior Renaissance, and on the flip side, a dark era for the First Peoples.  

A changing world; a vision of growth by European settlers did not include the indigenous inhabitants that already occupied the land.  Within a newly formed United States government, during the 19th century, a bounty was set on buffalo hides and tongues.  Killed by the millions, the life source of indigenous people was struck.  The goal: eradication, subjugation and dependency of Native people on the U.S. government.  During this period, Native men, women and children were forced onto reservations and the assimilation process began.  No longer were Native Americans allowed to be stewards of the land they held a deep gratitude and respect for.  The surfaces of the buffalo hides they had historically used to create Winter Counts, their pictographic tribal hunting records, were no longer available.  As an innovative, expressive response to this invasion of a new kind of people to their lands, along with their cultural need to depict images from their lives and record important events like their greatest feats, ceremonies and courtship rituals, ledger art was born.  It was a progression of pictographic art from hides to paper.

The history of ledger art dates back to the 1800’s, and the traditional materials used were ledger paper, which was plentiful and easily accessible to the artists, colored pencil, and marker.  The introduction of 19th century ledger drawings by Northern and Southern Plains Warriors marked a transition of indigenous lifestyle and artistic expression. 

Ledger art was traditionally a man’s craft or rite.  One of the many topics this exhibition addresses is the evolution of women artists into the artform over the decades.  Historically, the men drew figurative drawings, whereas female illustrations mostly highlighted geometrical and floral designs.  Today, Native male and female artists both have stepped up to assure that the traditions of ledger art, and the memories of their ancestors, remain as vivid depictions of their culture for future generations to admire. 

Emil Her Many Horses, Curator, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, states, “I know these artists were inspired by the traditional drawings of the warrior societies of the past and have used this style to record and document events that they have participated in or seen in their own lives.  The female ledger artists you have included document historical and contemporary roles of Native women in society, ceremony and warfare.  You truly have a great line up of artists.” 

Dakota, Navajo, Arikara, Hidatsa, Osage, Yakui, Blackfeet, Chippewa, Caddo and Winnebago are just a few of the tribes represented in the exhibition.  The work of a father of contemporary ledger art, the late George Flett, is also featured.

Monte Yellow Bird, guest curator and artist shares, “I’ve had a vision to assemble a show of this magnitude for quite some time.  I’m very honored to be connected with a gathering of such reputable ledger artists that are maintaining the traditions and culture of their ancestors through art.  This display of ledger works come from the source, the true heartbeat of our people, and the quality cannot be surpassed.” 
---exhibition summary written by Monte & Emily Yellow Bird of Black Pinto Horse Fine Arts

Exhibiting artists are:
Black Pinto Horse- Monte Yellow Bird Sr. (Arikara/Hidatsa-Crow)
Paris Bread (Dine’ (Navajo), Apache, and Blackfoot)
Alaina Buffalo Spirit (So'Taa ee' band of the Northern Cheyenne Nation, Montana)
Avis Charley (Dakota/Navajo)
George Flett (Spokane)
Lauren Good Day Giago (Arikara, Hidatsa, Blackfeet and Plains Cree)
Darryl Growing Thunder (Dakota-Nakona, Fort Peck Reservation Montana)
Terrance Guardipee (Blackfeet Nation)
Linda Haukaas (Sicangu Lakota (Rosebud Sioux))
Thomas Haukaas (Sicangu Lakota (Rosebud Sioux))
Michael Horse (Yaqui)
Sheridan MacKnight (Chippewa/Lakota)
Dallin Maybee (Northern Arapaho and Seneca)
Donald F. Montileaux (Oglala Lakota Nation, Pine Ridge, South Dakota)
Chris Pappan (Kaw, Osage, Cheyenne River Sioux)
John Isaiah Pepion (Blackfeet Nation)
Dolores Purdy (Caddo/Winnebago)
Dwayne Wilcox (Oglala Lakota Nation, Pine Ridge, South Dakota)
Jim Yellow Hawk (Lakota)

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Alison Shildt: Diverting Tableaus
November 21, 2013 - April 3, 2014
Exhibit Opening November 21, 2013; 5:30p-7:30p

Alison’s photography is a combination of photographic journalism and staged photography.

What is spectacular about the characters found within her photographs is that it can be difficult to determine what is real and what is staged.  They are all a bit strange, bordering on surreal.  Women dressed as mermaids, lounging outside a small pool may not be a strange sight in Great Falls but to, say, someone in Indianapolis, it would seem like a staged photograph. 

Her exhibit consists of a variety of non-traditional self-portraits (in each photograph she transforms herself into a different character that has lived a completely unique life), recent work inspired by her recent relocation to Great Falls, portraits of numerous people, and conceptual pieces that challenge the viewer. 

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Quick Finish Sale & Reception for the 17th Annual Art Auction
December 28, 2013 - January 28, 2014
Exhibit Opening January 10, 2014; 5:30p-8:30p

The 2014 Art Auction Exhibition features 135 pieces from 88 notable artists from around the country that will be available via both silent and live auction at the Square's 17th Annual Art Auction.

Quick Finish artists include:

Quick Finish art will be auctioned off at the reception.

The reception on January 10th is free and open to the public. Complimentary wine and hors d'oeuvres will be served. The Square believes that art is for everyone and works hard to eliminate the economic barriers often imposed to our community to experience presentations, auctions and receptions.

All of the Auction work is on display and four prominent Montana artists will be completing Quick Finish pieces that will be auctioned off at the Square at the conclusion of the evening. Chuck Fulcher will also be at the Square serenading the crowd. Again, there is no fee for reception, but we hope you might come and bid on the quick finish masterpieces of Doug Braulick, Brenda Wolf, Andy Watson and Ron Ukrainetz. Each of them have remarkable talent and passion for supporting the arts and the Square. 

This year, the Square is trying something new. We opened up the Silent Auction bidding at the start of the exhibition. In order to get a bid number, you must buy a ticket to the auction. Once you have your bid number, you can start bidding on the silent auction pieces. If you are not willing to take the chance of losing your coveted piece - you can take advantage of the 'Buy It Now' option listed on the bid sheet.

Auction ticket holders will be permitted to bid on silent auction pieces while they are on exhibit at the Square.

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Robert Tomlinson: Apparent Continent / Original Weather III
September 19 - December 14, 2013
Exhibit Opening September 19, 2013; 5:30p-7:30p

This fascinating collaborative exhibition showcases the artwork of Robert Tomlinson accompanied by the poetry of Standard Schaefer.

Robert Tomlinson, a professional artist living in Independence, OR, works predominately in silver gelatin based photography and mixed media drawings.  He has had fourteen solo shows and his work has been selected for over fifty group exhibitions.  Tomlinson is the recipient of a Pollock/ Krasner Foundation Grant and has been an artist-in-residence at the Ragdale Foundation in Illinois, the Kala Institute in California, and the Montana Artists Refuge.  He is also the co-founder of 13 Hats, a Portland-based collective of artists and writers dedicated to interdisciplinary work and creative dialogue.

Standard Schaefer is a poet, essayist, and fiction writer living in Portland, OR with his wife and daughter.  His work is widely published, and he has co-edited several literary and arts journals.  He has taught writing and literature at Otis College of Art in Los Angeles and California College of the Arts in San Francisco.  Schaefer is the founder of “The Feralist,” a new literary arts publication, and his latest book of poems is entitled “The Notebook of False Purgatories.”  He is a member of 13 Hats.

For over thirty years I have been using oil stick, pastel, chalk, pencil and acrylic on paper.  In retrospect, I realize a pattern has emerged towards working thematically; focusing on one particular theme at a time and building a series around it.

In the Spring of 2010, while on a three-month residency in Montana, I created a new body of work called “The Basin Series.”  In response to each piece, one of eight Oregon poets wrote a poem.  In the past two years, “Original Weather,” as an exhibition of poems and drawings from “The Basin Series” has been displayed in seven locations in Oregon and Washington.

While “Original Weather” was traveling, the Newport Arts Center contacted me and asked me for a new exhibit of drawings and poems.  “Original Weather II” was formed from works in three different series, “E,” “Subjects Not Objects,” and “Navigation” with poems provided by additional Oregon poets.

“Original Weather III,” consists of a selection of drawings and poems from the four previously mentioned series, plus new work created specifically for the exhibition at The Square.

--- Robert Tomlinson

"Apparent Continent" is inspired by Matthew Fontaine Maury who, in the 1850’s, was the first person to document the wind and wave patterns of the oceans, significantly altering maritime travel. Maury created a collection of hand-drawn maps as part of his research and as evidence of his findings. This portion of the exhibition consists of Tomlinson’s most recent series of vibrant mixed media drawings, based on Maury’s maps and entitled "The Continents."

The drawings are accompanied by a literary response to Tomlinson’s artwork by the poet Standard Schaefer. Schaefer’s poem was written as a mock documentary, an imagined journal of a late 18th century explorer/scientist from the Royal Academy. Drawing from "The Tempest" and Shakespeare’s investment ties to the Virginia Company, Schaefer tried to invoke a first scene in which the scientist going to America becomes stranded in Bermuda and captivated by island life. The poem addresses the issue of isolation and the mind, the difficulties of observing others without the biases of the individual, and above all, the need to imagine the world other than it is.

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Emily Nell Yellow Bird: The Many Charms of Nature - 'Chust fer Fancy'
September 19 - December 28, 2013
Exhibit Opening September 19, 2013; 5:30p-7:30p

This exhibition consists of a striking collection of new and colorful watercolor and cut paper works of art by Emily Nell Yellow Bird.

Emily Nell Yellow Bird, the Promotional Director and Co-owner of Black Pinto Horse Fine Arts, holds a Bachelors in Science, certificate of teaching K-6, and a specialty in art from Messiah College in Grantham, PA.  Yellow Bird utilizes skills learned through many years of teaching to provide visual art workshops for K-12 students.  In 2011, she was a featured alumnus at Messiah College, recognized for her achievements and diligence within her profession.  Yellow Bird resides in Wilsall, MT and her artwork is widely collected in the region.

The artist grew up in the rural countryside of the Mahantango Valley, tucked in the Appalachian Mountains of Pennsylvania.  This piece of heaven was filled with fresh sights, soothing sounds and aromatic smells.  The beauty of her surroundings inspired Yellow Bird’s artworks as a child and  continues to be the theme which influences her painting today.

As her untrained ancestors of the past, weaving watercolor and paper-cutting, Yellow Bird finds pleasure and joy as she incorporates her heritage while painting the many charms of nature.  Of all the peoples who immigrated to America, perhaps few are better known for their distinctive arts than the Germans who settled in Pennsylvania, also known as the Pennsylvania Dutch.

‘Chust fer Fancy’ is a Pennsylvania Dutch phrase that translates to ‘Just for Fancy.’  Historically, the Pennsylvania German Lutherans and Quakers enjoyed decorating in detail everything from furniture to gravestones, to plates and butter molds.  They are referred to as the ‘Fancy Dutch,’ while the Amish and Mennonites, also Pennsylvania Dutch, are referred to as the ‘Plain Dutch.’

Included in this exhibition are Yellow Bird’s works from her popular “Centripetal Satires Series.”  The artist puts her spin on the circle, wrapping familiar objects with irony to tell a fun story with a twist.  This series was born when, during her research, Yellow Bird was drawn to an historic Pennsylvania German Fraktur.  This fascinating piece of folk art, completed by a schoolmaster in the early 1800’s, consisted of colorful birds in circular columns made from hand cut paper (schoolmasters at that time often created and sold Frakturs, such as house blessings and birth certificates, to compensate for their low wages.)  Many of the exhibited works are from this series, while others, still circular in shape are ‘Chust fer Fancy.’ 

It’s amazing how much I am like my ancestors.  As I research their designs, I revel at the many flowers and birds that take flight in my mind.  Imagination, patience and embellishments are three things they impart, and lastly I bring my heart.

---Emily Nell Yellow Bird

Sponsored by:

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Carly Swenson: Sonhos Melancolia
July 23 - December 14, 2013

Exhibit Opening July 23, 2013; 5:30p-7:30p
Art Share Presentation by Carly Swenson begins at 6:00 PM
Reception free to the public. Free wine and hors d'oeuvres provided.

Carly Swenson is a mixed media artist originally from Havre, Montana.  After several years living and exhibiting art abroad in England and Portugal, Swenson has returned to her rural roots with her photographic exhibition, Sonhos Melancolia (Melancholy Dreams).  Swenson attended college at Bemidji State University in Bemidji, Minnesota where she received a BFA in Visual Arts with a 2D emphasis as well as a minor in Art History.  Swenson married Casey McKinney, a member of the US Air Force (also of Havre), in 2005 and moved with him to the Portuguese island of Terceira.  The artist’s work has been displayed in three international solo exhibitions in the Azores.  However, she is delighted to be returning to her home state to share her photographic imagery with family and friends who have supported her artistic aspirations. 

Sonhos Melancolia (Melancholy Dreams) is a photographic exhibition of abandoned buildings found throughout the Portuguese island of Terceira.  The artist’s fascination with these derelict structures is purely aesthetic……. the captivating allure of nature breaking down human constructs and creating contemporary ruins.  Swenson admires nature’s unlimited ability to reclaim itself….. the visual reassurance that nature persists beyond human interference.  She is also captivated by the eerie reminder of human presence at the locations she chooses to photograph.  Her intriguing images capture fragments of the lives of unknown people, forgotten under layers of dust and debris.

Living abroad has been a fantastically inspiring experience.  However, Montana will always hold a special place in my heart.  My rural roots have helped me to appreciate the beauty in simplicity and the subtleties of nature, elements that are particularly evident in this body of work.  It is important to have a means to capture the enthralling (though sometimes faintly unnerving) beauty that is always around us…… for those who are willing to take pause and admire it.

--- Carly Swenson

Inner Landscapes:
Contemporary Native Imagery by Valentina LaPier

June 11 - October 19, 2013
Exhibit Opening June 11, 2013; 5:30p-7:30p

This exhibition will consist of a striking collection of new and colorful paintings by Valentina LaPier.  The artist was born in Browning, Montana and is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Tribe.  She began painting as a young girl and works primarily in watercolor, oils and acrylics.  Raised in various places throughout the western United States, LaPier moved back to the Blackfeet Reservation in 2000.  She currently splits her time between East Glacier and Kalispell, Montana.

La Pier shares the landscapes of her heart through her painted images, weaving together her life as a 21st century artist, her Blackfeet heritage and her vibrant, mystical soul.  These images, and the ability to capture them on canvas, come to LaPier as gifts.  Her work is contemporary, but constructed from historical Native imagery, like those found in the traditional art of the Blackfeet people.

LaPier has stated: My mother was Blackfeet and my father was Métis of the Little Shell Tribe. I am an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Nation, and a descendant of the Little Shell Tribe.  Native art has a rich history often illustrated through patterns and symbols.  I pull much of my imagery and techniques from this heritage.  The soft, feminine elements of my work are drawn from the European and Cree floral designs from my Métis side, and the Blackfeet influence is represented by heavy, bold lines and the primitive nature of my geometric shapes.  I take from the past to create the new.  I deconstruct old patterns and arrange them into modern images.  Through my paintings, I pray the traditions of my Grandfathers and Grandmothers will not go unheard.  We walk today because of yesterday.

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Cells and Orbs: Sketchbook Drawings and Related Works by Julia Becker

March 28 - August 24, 2013
Opening reception: March 28, 5:30-7:30 PM

This exhibition includes a selection of recent works on paper and panels, and related sculptural works. 

Chosen from current sketchbooks, the works on paper explore improvisational and tactile drawing including the use of layered stenciling, printing and continuous ‘blind’ line.  I am interested in mapping and energetic systems, layering information, and the kinesthetic action of working with physical materials as well as intuitive response and play.  The work may also respond to current events and news, weaving imagery and emotive response into the surface, however subtly and abstracted or narrative and literal.  

Drawing allows me the immense enjoyment of the slowing and swelling of time, the mergence of matter and spirit, and the opportunity to wander uninhibited in the intuitive imagination as related to making marks, following line, and building form and layers of activity.  The process triggers a kind of blind dance of patterning and navigational choreography, and is responding to cellular and energetic systems.  It is a contact improvisation, within the purposeful structural limitations of the format and tools.

I believe that intrinsic patterns of life (nature) inform and inspire us on multiple levels.  I am interested in this physiological and kinesthetic connection and response that is inherit to us as living bodies.  But I am also interested in random stories, news, intuitive drawing and trusting what we do not know or understand. 

The drawing is a form of writing.  Writing the story to know the story.  There is a creation of language to meet the heart’s need.  There is an urgency to mark making, weaving the story, touching and feeling one’s way across a surface.  It is a journey for me, one that allows me to travel away and into a land of unlimited potentiality with surprises and challenges (however self-induced), that may delight, fascinate, frustrate or otherwise open up a new space of comprehension for me. 

To keep the sketchbooks intact (they are their own format and process of ‘reading’) I have photographed the images and printed them on archival paper with archival inks and mounted this paper on wood panels.   Sometimes I work these prints further and then photo/print them again, creating  generations of drawings.  The work is also meant to be viewed digitally, on a screen.  I have enjoyed sending the work off into the digital cloud to allow a larger audience and feedback and feed-in system.  

---Julia Becker

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Josh DeWeese: A Point in Time
March 28 - August 24, 2013
Opening reception: March 28, 5:30-7:30 PM

Art Share Presentation by Josh DeWeese begins at 6:00 PM
Reception free to the public.
Free wine and hors d'oeuvres provided.

This exhibition features a range of pottery forms that are of interest to me at this time, including covered jars, platters, baskets, various pouring vessels, and cups. The jars and platters serve as a platform for the exploration of narrative, with drawings enveloping the forms, emerging in and out of the glazed surface. The larger vessels become paintings in the round, and I am interested in how the image unfolds as you move around the pot. The baskets and pouring forms are animated, and reference the figure in their posture. I continue to be amused by the character they become. The cups are perhaps the most intimate, and I enjoy the potential of the daily kiss, and their future interaction in the hand and the home.
---Josh DeWeese

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The 'Trunk' Show: Textile Art by the Montana Bricolage Artists
June 11 - September 4, 2013
Exhibit Opening June 11, 2013; 5:30p-7:30p

This exhibition, coming to Great Falls on loan from the Missoula Art Museum through the Museum and Art Gallery Directors Association of Montana, will display a stunning collection of art quilt ‘trunks’ by the Montana Bricolage Artists of the Missoula and Bitterroot valleys.   The vibrantly patterned ‘trunks’ will be suspended from the ceiling in the center of the gallery to create the experience of strolling through a forest of fiber interpretations of trees in their many forms, seasons, and varieties.  Viewers will have the opportunity to wander through the woodland of ‘trunks’ which incorporate a wide variety of materials, methods, and artistic styles from realism to abstract.  Each artist has interpreted the theme through their chosen materials including quilted, woven, hand-dyed, discharged, painted, sheer, and hand-felted wool cloth, and the additions of yarn/ fibers, beads, stone, wire, embroidery, threadwork, and found objects.

The fourteen artists displaying their work have developed a camaraderie resulting from their interest in art quilting and exploring the medium of fiber arts.  They call themselves the Montana Bricolage Artists. Bricolage is defined as a construction or creation made from a diverse range of available elements.  The artwork of this collective reflects their spirit of experimentation.  In addition to the trunks, the exhibition will also include a sampler by each of the artists along with brief biographical information.  Exhibiting artists are: Brooke Atherton, Louise Barker, Diane Beirwagen, Joyce Brown, Karen Burton, Joyce Ferrie, Mickey Frissell, Jamie Grant, Judy Hart, Sue Anne Inman, Carol O’Bagy, Cindy Ondrak, Pam Wells, and Heidi Zielinski.

This exhibition is supported in part by grants from the Montana Arts Council, the Coal Tax Trust Fund for Cultural and Aesthetic Projects, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Jessie Wilber: Blackfeet Indian Tipis
(selections from the permanent collection)
February 14 - July 13, 2013
Opening reception: February 14, 5:30-7:30 PM

Art Share Presentation by Susan Thomas, 6:00 PM
Reception free to the public.
Free wine and hors d'oeuvres provided.

Artist Jessie Spaulding Wilber (1912-1989) taught in the Montana State University Art Department from 1941 to 1972.  She was a founding member of the Montana Institute of the Arts and helped start the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena.  During the summers of 1944 and 1945, Ms. Wilber and her MSU colleague Olga Ross Hannon visited the Sun Dance encampments of the South Piegan near Browning and at Heart Butte on the Blackfeet Reservation to faithfully record the bold and exceedingly colorful designs on Blackfeet painted tipis.  The museum’s collection of twenty-six serigraphs is the fascinating result of that expedition.

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GFPS Art Students Exhibition
also on view GFPS faculty work
April 11 - May 16, 2013

The Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art is proud to present this annual art exhibition by local public school students. The work represents a year’s worth of instruction by some of the finest art educators working in the state of Montana. We not only congratulate these students for their accomplishments, but thank the classroom artists/educators who lead by example—challenging area youth to fully explore their potential—and the parents who encourage their children’s development in the arts.

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Corene McCrea: Cycle of Consciousness
UGF Senior Thesis Exhibition
March 18 - March 31, 2013
Opening reception: March 28, 5:30-7:30 PM

Reception free to the public.
Free wine and hors d'oeuvres provided.

Corene McCrea’s thought-provoking metal sculpture exhibition addresses the artist’s concerns about environmental issues and the dynamics of the relationship between humanity and the Earth.  Cycle of Consciousness is the culmination of McCrea’s four years of hard work on her BFA at the University of Great Falls.

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Contemplate: The Art of Patrick Zentz
November 29, 2012 - March 30, 2013
Wylder Gallery

Contemplate: The Art of Patrick Zentz is an exhibition of Patrick Zentz pieces from the museum’s permanent collection that will include one loaned piece courtesy of the Missoula Art Museum.  These diorama-like objects incorporate man-altered natural materials to create serene, contemplative mini-environments.  Each piece invites the viewer to re-examine the natural wonders around us and re-appreciate their intrinsic beauty.  Similar to a Zen rock garden, the Zentz exhibition gallery will be a space to reflect on nature and art.

These are subdued objects that do not seize the attention of the onlooker.  Viewers will be compelled to approach each box of their own volition and apply themselves to actively experiencing the work.  These pieces are contemplative in character and are meant for examination and reflection.  The artist created them with elements of nature and incorporated a host of symbolic elements into their design.  However, they may be appreciated for their stunning beauty, even without a complete understanding of their symbolism.

As a viewer, you will be encouraged to take ample time with the sculptures and enjoy the peace they instill into the gallery.  You are invited to consider these pensive sculptures and how they mirror nature and our manipulation of its resources.  Take time to pause and reflect on your day, the beauty and wonder of the natural world, and your place within it.

This exhibition is part of The Square’s ongoing commitment to bring the collection out of storage for the community to view and enjoy.

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Jessie Wilber & Frances Senska: Impressions of Africa
February 14 - March 7, 2013
Opening reception: February 14, 5:30-7:30 PM

Art Share Presentation by Susan Thomas, 6:00 PM
Reception free to the public.
Free wine and hors d'oeuvres provided.

Printmaker Jessie Wilber (1912-1989) and ceramics artist Frances Senska (1914-2010) helped forge the contemporary arts community in Montana.  As teachers at MSU in Bozeman, they influenced generations of artists and were part of the thriving arts community.  World-renowned ceramicists Rudy Autio and Peter Voulkos of the Archie Bray Foundation are just part of their outstanding legacy.

In 1966, Wilber and Senska visited Cameroon, Africa, where Frances was born.  The result was Jessie’s dynamic serigraph series Impressions of Africa.  During the trip, Jessie sketched constantly rather than using a camera and risk offending people who did not wish to be photographed.  In Bozeman, she quickly turned out a portfolio of 13 prints, of which 11 are included in the exhibition along with the cover boards made from proofs and an illustrated introduction.

The vibrant serigraphs, or silk-screened prints, depict bustling market places, ceremonial dancers, colorful wildlife, and crowded river scenes.  Also included is one of Frances Senska’s famed YA-BA-BO or “good luck” pots inspired by her years in Africa.  Typically executed in black and white, the pots carry images of seven forms of life: insect, reptile, plant, bird, fish, animal and human.

Impressions of Africa is sponsored by the Museum & Art Gallery Directors Association-Montana and supported in part by grants from the Montana Arts Council, the Coal Tax Trust Fund for Cultural and Aesthetic Projects, and the National Endowment for the Arts.  The exhibition is on loan from the Holter Museum of Art in Helena.

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A Timeless Town in Time - Butte, Montana:
The Photography of David J. Spear - 1977-2008

November 29, 2012 - February 11, 2013
Art Share Presentation by David J. Spears begins at 6:00pm
Great Falls Clinic Community Gallery

David J. Spear’s fascinating perspectives of the people and places of Butte, Montana spanning from 1977 to 2008 is on view for the first time.  Spear became captivated by the town during a St. Patrick’s Day celebration and began making regular trips there.  He arrived as an outsider but left feeling more connected to the richness of Butte history, tradition and community life with each visit.  The artwork will be accompanied by the poetry of long-time Butte resident Ed Lahey.  Come experience this timeless Montana town from the artist’s point of view!

Spears has stated:

I was inspired by Butte’s photographic history and wanted to add my own contribution.  Beginning in the 1990s, I started making regular trips to the region from New York to photograph for a week or two at a time.  My fascination with Butte’s historic buildings and neighborhoods occupied me until the town’s inhabitants began to allow me to make their picture. 

In my work I become engaged in the coming in and then the going out….. the coming in and the going out of making photographs, even with things and subjects that know me.  In the process of making these pictures I journey to an unfamiliar place and, like all outsiders, after arrival feel an urge to belong.  But American culture often defines us with questions like, “Where were your parents born?  Where are you from?” which inwardly feels like “If you’re from there, you can’t be from here.”  So I continue to travel to this place….. each trip arriving as an outsider, and with each departure leaving in a small way distantly connected to the things and people in this place I know as, Butte, Montana-A Timeless Town In Time.  The coming in and the going out, I suspect, will reoccur there for a time.

Exhibit sponsored by:
Junkermier • Clark • Campanella • Stevens, Certified Public Accountants

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Ties That Bind: Installations by Sandra McMorris Johnson, Jean L. Price,
William H. Thielen & Myra Walker

September 27-December 27, 2012
ArtShare presentation September 27 at 6:00pm
Thayer, Rothschiller, Mungas/ Volk and Dufresne & Cobb Galleries

This exhibition presents diverse installations by four artists who earned Master of Fine Arts Degrees in Fiber Arts at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale in the early 1980’s.  The collective shared a studio house at SIU where they inspired each other’s work, gave each other advice and interacted as friends and colleagues.  Although their individual approaches to artmaking have evolved beyond strict devotion to fibers, each retains strong ties to the discipline.  This exhibition honors the deep friendship these four artists have maintained over the years and the common thread in their work.

For her Ties That Bind installation, Jean has developed and expanded upon her sculptural piece commissioned in 2007 by the Cascade Quartet as a setting for their music.  Jean stated that her installation represents “the music as two conversing voices….. at times feeling tragic and dramatic or strong and forceful, while at other times feeling more lyrical and gentle.  The new forms as they move out into the room toward the viewer intend to show how the music moves my soul and touches my heart…. at times with tension and excitement and at times with peaceful pleasure.”

In reference to his Ties That Bind installation, Bill stated:  “To make a grand statement, one can use something as simple as a sheet of paper. Sometimes less is more.  I use the color pink because it has a strong political context.  It confronts and challenges the viewer like no other color.  I want the viewing public to experience the same kind of intensity that I encounter on a daily basis.  It’s simple and seductive.  Yet, once you’ve stood within the gallery for a while, it can become overwhelming. However, when you leave this room, you may be surprised to find the outside world has changed, albeit briefly.  You may realize you enjoy the pink room after all.”

Myra titled her Ties That Bind installation Death of Nostalgia.  She stated: “Nostalgia is a word associated with mixed feelings of happiness, sadness, and longing when recalling a person, place, or event from the past- or the past in general….. These emotions may be stirred by aromas, a vintage artifact, or by a garment or textiles.  While I have no desire to relive any of it, I deeply miss aspects of the 20th century….. This body of work is related to the Pattern and Decorative Arts Movement, which had a huge impact on me during the 1970s and 1980s.  Being enthralled with pattern affected me at a young age when my grandmother would show me the quilts she was making.  I loved seeing the fabric piles of colors and shapes she put together.”

In reference to her Ties That Bind installation, Sandra stated:  “When I think about the artwork I’ve been creating lately, I realize that, although my work appears abstract and non-representational, to me it presents aspects of my identity, characteristics of my friends, personal relationships, and aspects of my life journey.  Some of the pieces reflect the qualities I see in myself or friends, and they capture the ways we approach life.  Works such as Exuberance, for example, are mood pieces that express my enthusiasm for the gift of life and the presence of beauty in the world.  When I’m working in my studio, the challenges of day-to-day life fall away, as the colors and textures of the material transport me to a place of beauty, comfort, and liveliness.”

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Deegan Fox: Legacy Preserved
July 10 - November 8, 2012
ArtShare presentation July 10 at 6:00pm
Great Falls Clinic Community Gallery

This exhibition showcases the captivating, interactive art of local artist Deegan Fox. The artist’s sculptural work, handmade books, and intaglio prints connect with each other through a series of riddles which address themes of history and preservation.

Fox has stated, I am influenced by time and things that survive its passage; whether object or idea. These survivors impress me in terms of both their style and relevance, as well as their blatant refusal to decay to nothing and be lost to the sands of time. I draw inspiration from extant old world work; such as traditional woodcuts, illuminated manuscripts, blacksmithing, and ancient megalithic works.

My work is meant to convey a sense of permanence, timelessness, and history as I explore the relation between things past and present. I use a variety of metals and processes such as casting, blacksmithing, fabricating and riveting to make my sculptures, and I have developed a strong love of printmaking with relief cuts and intaglio.

I tend to include small mysteries in my work; some other layer of meaning to reward those intrepid few who take the time to uncover and understand it. My mysteries have been both large and small, in the form of writing, hidden elements, riddles, or puzzles that must be touched, moved, and interacted with in order to solve them. I want the viewer to be pulled in, and I want them to answer the question I have asked, not because they have to, but because they feel driven to do so.

Museum visitors are encouraged to touch and examine the works and attempt to solve the puzzles.

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Painterly: Paintings from the Permanent Collection
May 31 - November 3, 2012
Wylder Gallery

The paintings in the exhibition will represent a variety of styles and techniques and will showcase the depth of quality that can be found in the museum’s collection.  Exhibited artists will include Val Knight, Jerome Rankin, Stephen Schultz, Jim Poor, and Vickie Meguire.

This exhibit is part of The Square’s ongoing commitment to bring the collection out of storage for the community to view and enjoy.

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Tell it Like it Is: Stories in American Folk Art
June 19 - September 15, 2012
ArtShare presentation June 19 at 6:00pm
Thayer, Mungas/Volk & Rothschiller Gallery

For decades, the artist Willem Volkersz and his wife Diane have travelled throughout the country collecting and documenting folk and outsider art.  The museum is proud to present a selection of highlights from their impressive collection.  The self-taught “Outsider Artists” behind each piece tend to operate on the fringes of society, face economic challenges, and utilize non-traditional materials.  Each piece of artwork beautifully reflects the fascinating life of its creator.  The exhibited work from this extraordinary collection, which includes Robert E. Smith’s vibrant paintings and quirky assemblages by Arthur Frenchy,  will focus mainly on narrative themes.  Mr. Volkersz will give a lecture to accompany the exhibit on the night of the opening reception.

Download the online catalog by clicking HERE.

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The Japanese Woodblock Print: An Extension of the Impermanent
May 31 - June 30, 2012
Great Falls Community Gallery

The work in this exhibition, curated by Nathan Barnes of the Idaho Falls Arts Council, has been chosen from among the many fantastic cultural products found in the George and Claire Louden Collection.  It showcases pieces by some of Japan’s most important and influential print artists, including Kuniyoshi, Hiroshige, Kunisada and Hiroshi Yoshida.

Japanese woodblock prints are products of incredible skill and items of amazing beauty.  But they are also notably delicate.  In form, the tradition’s closest western analog may be etching, while in content there is some overlap with the genre of vanitas still-life painting and 19th century romanticism.  But in the Japanese tradition of woodblock printing, form and content seem perfectly allied in their concern for the fleeting.  The subject matter of Ukiyo-e, or floating world prints from the Edo and Meiji periods, consists of Noh and Kabuki scenes and actors, warriors, courtesans, sublime landscapes and wildlife.  The hand-made mulberry papers used in the printing process possess only slightly greater longevity than the momentary experience of a night at the theater or the sensory pursuits with which the prints often concern themselves.  Tissue thin and often of noticeable antiquity, the work in this exhibition speaks powerfully of the Japanese experience and the cultural phenomena of its time.

The exhibit is comprised of original and genuine woodblock prints from the Louden Collection created as early as the late 18th century and as recently as the early second half of the 20th century.  George and Claire Louden, both artists in their own rights, were employed by National Geographic and the United States Foreign Services.  They traveled the world studying and photographing foreign lands and cultures, as well as curating exhibitions for United States Embassies abroad.  As evidenced by their collection, they had a particular appreciation for Japanese items of art and antiquity and accumulated over 100 individual items between 1950 and 1970.  Within the collection and included in this exhibition are works by Japanese masters such as Toyokuni, Hiroshige, Kunisada, Kuniyoshi, Koson Ohara and Hiroshi Yoshida.  The exhibit is populated with a number of colorful triptychs, single prints, epic scenes comprised of as many as seven individual prints, and the oversized works of French immigrant Paul Jacoulet as well as Hiroyuki Tajima.  In most cases, multiple examples of each artist’s work are present.

The history of the Japanese woodblock is overflowing with details of human interest and intrigue.  Until the mid to late 20th century the production of a single print involved a collaboration of a number of parties.  Artist, carver, printer and publisher didn’t always see eye to eye.  Artists and their subject matter, especially actors, were sometimes at odds with the end product of a work.  Add to this mix a number of natural and man-made disasters along with a world war, and the incredible turmoil of Japan’s history as it moves away from an isolationist nation towards a more international future, and the historical cross-section of prints in this exhibition become real artifacts of an incredible past.

An exhibition catalogue is available for purchase at The Square.

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Gordon McConnell: Staged Relics
March 8 - June 2, 2012
ArtShare presentation March 15 at 6:00pm
Rothschiller Gallery

I first saw John Ford’s Stagecoach (1939) at the University of Colorado in the mid-70s. The print was ba1ered, the images deresolved, flickering and stu1ering. Details of the coach, horses and characters dissolved in abstract shadows as the searing glare of the Arizona desert spilled into the auditorium. Still, the compelling story and performances, dynamic action set pieces and powerful cinematic compositions came through. In its ruined state the old film seemed like a relic of an actual

Staged twentieth century Hollywood history, in endless iterations, is as real as the nineteenth century blood and thunder epic of conquest and conflict that inspired it. John Ford made Monument Valley an historic place, be1er known and more resonant for most people than Li1le Bighorn or Wounded Knee. The people in the film—the local Navajos, who gleefully played wild-ass Apaches, Yak Canu1, the great stuntman, Tim Holt and the cavalry troopers, the cross-section of frontier society crossing the desert by stage, and John Wayne, for the first time as himself, the living embodiment of American manliness—are equally part of the history of the West.

By reenacting and redefining the frontier we establish new and complicated connections with what historian Patricia Limerick has called the West's "legacy of conquest," its "unbroken past." The western is our national drama. The subjects of the films are great subjects, the realities and myths they depict as grand and tragic as any in the world.

I can't imagine more vibrant material for pictorial art, and I've long drawn inspiration and images for my paintings from films like Stagecoach, The Westerner, My Darling Clementine, Red River, Yellow Sky, Rio Grande and many others. The landscapes in
my paintings tend to be even less featured than the Southeastern Colorado prairie where I grew up. Settings blur or dissolve in light-shot dust as bandits, cowboys, cavalry troopers and Indians ride. Emblematic of vitality, fearlessness, austere self reliance, and intimacy with nature, my work is darkly nostalgic, haunted by the legacy of popular western imagery and the savage, tragic and, yes, heroic aspects of human nature and history portrayed in it.

—Gordon McConnell

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Lisa Jarrett: Deep Condition
February 16 - June 2, 2012
ArtShare presentation February 16 at 6:00pm
Thayer Gallery & Mungas/Volk Gallery

Lisa Jarrett was born in 1977 in Morristown, New Jersey. Growing up as a Black American who moved with her family to various, often conflicting political climates in cities in Texas, Minnesota, and New York, the influences of her upbringing in a post-Civil Rights and increasingly so-called “post-racial” America are apparent in her work, which seeks to confront ideas of racial difference and perceptions of racial equality.

Though conflating comparisons of self and Other within a racial context are surely not limited to the American Black Experience and can be examined in myriad global racial milieus, Jarrett’s work is typically centered upon deconstructing, defragmenting, and, in turn, reconstructing and reassembling her personal experiences as a Black woman in America into a visual expression that asks viewers to consider their own roles in present-day race relations.

Jarrett maintains a studio in Missoula, Montana, where she teaches classes in art at The University of Montana's School of Art. She exhibits nationally and currently has work in the Speaking Volumes: Transforming Hate exhibition, which is touring nationally through 2014.


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GFPS Art Students Exhibition:
See the World Through Their Eyes

April 19 - May 17, 2012

The Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art is proud to present this annual art exhibition by local public school students. The work represents a year’s worth of instruction by some of the finest art educators working in the state of Montana. We not only congratulate these students for their accomplishments, but thank the classroom artists/educators who lead by example—challenging area youth to fully explore their potential—and the parents who encourage their children’s development in the arts.

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VSA: 2012 Student Exhibition
March 2, 2012 - April 12, 2012
Opening reception: March 2, 2012, 10am-2pm
Great Falls Clinic Community Gallery

Art is for Everyone is the essence of the Education Department at Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art.  It is the museum’s vision to be a venue for all artists regardless of ability or disabilityIn that spirit, the museum has offered VSA Arts Open Studio classes since 1996 when The Square became an affiliate for VSA Montana, a chapter of VSA International Arts nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. This exhibition showcases work created in The Square’s VSA classes during the past year

VSA The International Organization on Arts and Disability is an international, nonprofit organization founded in 1974 by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to create a society where all people with disabilities learn through, participate in and enjoy the arts. The VSA Montana Arts program was founded on the belief that "…the arts belong to everyone and everyone deserves equal access."

VSA Montana Arts showcases the accomplishments of artists with disabilities and promotes increased access to the arts for people with disabilities.  It also provides educators, parents and artists with resources and the tools to support arts programming in schools and communities.

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Image Writing: Icons from the Permanent Collection
November 14, 2011 - April 12, 2012
Wylder Gallery

Image Writing: Icons from the Permanent collection explores the notion of what an icon is and can be. Pieces from the exhibit include actual icons, or rather, artworks made to resemble and function the same as religious icons. Other facets of iconography are explored in the pieces on display: icons of Montana, icons of the West and icons of art movements.

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Stitches: A Doll Project
November 28, 2011 - February 25, 2012
Public Reception 5:30-7:30pm, December 1st

The Stitches project began in Michigan as a way to combine art and life in an interactive way to teach the community about women living with HIV.   The project uses the creation of dolls for their therapeutic and educational effects.  Those that make the dolls have had their lives affected in some way by HIV and the dolls in turn provide a personal story for viewers to empathize with.

The exhibit will showcase many dolls, each with an individual story.  Each doll was created with the question, “If your doll could talk what would she say?” in mind.  Didactic materials regarding HIV statistics in Montana will be included in the exhibit.

The purpose of the exhibit is to reduce the stigma associated with HIV, increase empathy for those living with HIV and educate the public about the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic.

The exhibition will be open for viewing on November 28th. 

The opening reception will take place on Thursday, December 1, to coincide with World AIDS Day, at 5:30pm.  Brief remarks will be made by the Stitches Project co-founder.  Wine and food will be served.

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15th Annual Art Auction Exhibition
January 12 - February 1, 2012
Public Reception 5:30-7:30pm, January 12th

The 15th Annual Art Auction Exhibition includes a wide array of artwork by over 60 locally and regionally known artists.

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Steven Glueckert: Driven
September 22 - December 31, 2011
Public Reception 5:30-7:30pm, September 22nd

Stephen Glueckert: Driven is a survey exhibition of work by this Montana artist. Stephen is literally driven to create by his active imagination that nearly demands that he engage in an activity that allows for an examination of the minutest of details. This is not unique in 21st Century art production, but Steve’s inquiry engages viewers on a multitude of levels that are outside of the traditional heroic subject models prevalent prior to the 20th century. His obsession with kinesis, which invites all to interact, includes an element of performance that is predetermined, but in the case of his drawing machines, also operates with an element of chaos related to physics.

Download the official catalog by clicking here.

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Lasting Impressions:
Prints from the Permanent Collection
Wylder Gallery
June 9 - October 29, 2011
Public Reception 5:30-7:30pm June 9th

In a continuing series of exhibitions developed from the museum’s permanent collection, The Square presents an exhibition that includes recently acquired prints from The Caravan Project artists collaborative and Daniel Biehl, along with prints by Jack Fisher, Jr. The Caravan Project was an imaginative collaboration by artists/art educators from across the state that gathered and traveled as a group to present art happenings to many Montana communities. The project was especially engaging to rural audiences who typically have limited exposure to contemporary art.

The Caravan artists recently gifted a portfolio of 10 prints that are indicative of each artist’s work and serve as a beautiful record of their collaborative spirit. The portfolio represents all of the Caravan artists with the exception of Jack Fisher, Jr. who passed away on February 1, 2006. Lasting impressions will also include prints by Jack that were gifted to the museum by his parents after his death, as well as recent gifts by Daniel Biehl who is a member of The Caravan Project collaborative. Other artists of the collaborative include: Joe Batt, Julia M. Becker, Bev Beck Glueckert, Stephen Glueckert, Cathryn Mallory, Vickie Meguire, Leslie van Stavern Millar, Jean L. Price, Bobby T. Tilton, Rene A. Westbrook and J. Kathleen White.

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100 Mile Radius:
Recent Work by Frances Carlson, Lisa Easton, Christine McKay, Deb Schmit and Laurie Stevens
August 19-October 15, 2011
Public Reception 5:30-7:30pm August 30th

The inspiration for this show lies in the High Plains of central Montana that these artists call home.  Though their styles and media are diverse, they share a strong love for this place.  They all wrestle with the complex responses engendered by a place that can be heart achingly beautiful and tediously difficult all on the same day.  This show explores the variety and commonality of their artistic responses.

These 5 area artists encourage each other’s professional accomplishments and development through their friendship and a shared love for the region. All live, not surprisingly, within 100 mile radius of one another, offering artistic points of view relative to their unique perspectives about where they live and work.

Download the on-line version of the exhibition catalog here.

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Centered: Ceramics from the C.M. Russell Museum
June 21-September 10, 2011
Public Reception 5:30-7:30pm June 21st
Image: Rudy Autio, Untitled (stoneware vase with figures), circa 1972

In a cooperative effort between The Square and the C.M. Russell museum, this exhibition is offered as a highlight in a series of three exhibitions that are part of a statewide celebration of The Archie Bray Foundation’s 60th Anniversary. Regarded as one of the best known ceramics residency programs in the United States, The Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts is a nonprofit, educational institution founded in 1951 by brick maker Archie Bray, who intended it to be “a place to make available for all who are seriously and sincerely interested in any of the branches of the ceramic arts, a fine place to work.” Its primary mission is to provide an environment that stimulates creative work in ceramics.

Included in the exhibition is work by two former Archie Bray resident directors: Rudy Autio and David Shaner. These works along with other examples from the Russell collection represent both traditions of functional and sculptural vessel making. Our collaboration on this exhibition provides another context in which the public can appreciate the breadth of ceramic artistry prevalent in Montana.

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Centered: Early Works by Peter Voulkos from the Wells Fargo Bank Collection
June 21 - September 10, 2011
Reception 5:30 - 7:30pm June 21st
Image: Untitled, bottle, circa 1952, ceramic, 15 ¼ x 10” in diameter

Peter Voulkos (b.1924 -2002) is often credited as the father of Contemporary ceramics. Centered provides a rare opportunity for the public to view exquisite treasures from the Wells Fargo Bank Collection. These formative functional works by Voulkos are indicative of his masterful functional pottery from the early 1950s, which pre-date his breakthrough expressionistic style that re-defined the aesthetic and technical limits of ceramics world-wide. The exhibition is part of our statewide celebration of The Bray’s anniversary celebration.

Download the on-line version of the exhibition catalog here.

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Shalene Valenzuela: No Place Like Home
June 21-September 10, 2011
Public Reception 5:30-7:30pm June 21st
Image: Not Really a Fan I, 2011, cone 04 slip cast ceramic and wire, 9.5 x8 x 6.5"

As part of the Bray anniversary celebration, No Place Like Home will provide viewers with a wonderfully wry and sometimes ironic look at domestic life. Shalene’s use of clay represents the shift in the ceramic discipline that emerged in the late 1950s when artists began utilizing clay for its full potential as a sculptural medium, adding a new slant to the functional traditions of an ancient art form.

My narratives explore topics ranging from fairy tales, urban mythologies, consumer culture, societal expectations, etiquette and coming-of-age issues. Stylistically, much of my imagery is pulled from somewhat “dated” sources that I find represent an idealized time in society and advertising. Such gems include instructional guides, cookbooks, old advertisements and old family photos. Beneath the shiny veneer of these relics hides a complex and sometimes contradicting truth of what things seem to appear as upon first glance.”–Shalene Valenzuela

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MATRIX Press: Master Prints
Great Falls Clinic Community Gallery at The Square
June 9 - August 13, 2011
Public Reception 5:30-7:30pm June 9th

MATRIX Press was founded in 1998 by Professor of Art, James Bailey, at The University of Montana-Missoula, to educate, develop and promote print making and fine art prints. MATRIX Press: Master Prints was generated by The University of Montana’s Gallery of Visual Arts in conjunction with Professor James Bailey. The exhibition is touring Montana through the auspices of Museum & Art Gallery Directors Association – Montana (MAGDA).

The exhibition includes forty prints created by nationally recognized artists over the course of the past twelve years through MATRIX Press, representing a broad range of artistic and technical approaches to print making. Artists represented in this exhibition include those who have continued the activist tradition of print making such as Richard Mock—best known for his cutting political prints that appeared in the New York Times Op-Ed section from 1980-1996—and Miriam Schapiro who was one of the pioneering artists in the Feminist Art movement to Tom Huck, known for his intricately cut woodcuts inspired by the likes of Albrecht Durer. In addition, colorful abstractions by Arizona artist and past UM alumni John Armstrong show a softer approach to the medium with his whimsical forms, which often reference the landscape. Chicago based artist Tony Fitzpatrick utilizes 50’s style tattoo art in his color etchings, while Canadian Artist Peter Von Tiesenhausen’s boat forms float mysteriously on metallic fields.

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Whitney Polich:
Artist-in-Residence Exhibition
Dufresne & Cobb Foundations Gallery
June 9 - July 16, 2011
Public Reception 5:30-7:30pm June 9th

This exhibition will be an installation created especially for The Square by the spring/summer artist-in-residence, Whitney Polich. The installation will include sound, video projection and repetitive sculptural elements. Her intentions may recall for the viewer a need to listen as suggested in the last passage of Truman Capote’s Grass Harp. “It was as though neither of us had known where we were headed. Quietly astonished, we surveyed the view from the cemetery hill, and arm in arm descended to the summer-burned, September-burnished field. A waterfall of color flowed across the dry and strumming leaves; and I wanted then for the Judge to hear what Dolly had told me: that it was a grass harp, gathering, telling, a harp of voices remembering a story. We listened.”

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Neil Jussila: Joseph in Montana—The Nez Perce Epic
Thayer Gallery
February 17—June 4, 2011
Artist’s Reception 5:30-7:30pm February 17, 2011

The exhibition is comprised of expressive paintings that capture the range of emotion and physical exertion that might have been felt by the Niimiipu, Nez Perce, as they fled the 7th Calgary in 1877 along a perilous and battle-filled 1,170 mile long journey through Idaho and Montana. Their hope was to maintain independence from the U.S. Government through an exodus to Canada that was eventually ended short of the US/Canadian border near Chinook, Montana, when Chief Joseph surrendered, stating: “Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.”

Growing up and serving the country during an especially divisive time, Neil Jussila eventually found solace in painting. His work is among the most poetic and sensitive non-objective work done in the region and reflects his ability to transcend the literal implications of socio/political culture. The subject of this exhibition may indeed serve as a remembrance of the artist’s own combat experience in Vietnam.

Raised in Butte, Montana, Neil served as a Vietnam combat veteran before earning his Bachelor of Science degree (1966) and a Master of Arts Administration degree (1969) from Montana State University in Bozeman. He has taught art at Montana State University, Billings since 1969 where he is Professor of Art.

Download the on-line version of the exhibition catalog here.

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Jeff Anderson: In Plain View
Mungas/Volk Gallery
February 17—June 4, 2011
Artist’s Reception 5:30-7:30pm February 17, 2011

Jeff Anderson’s exhibit, In Plain View, is a marriage of his educational and life experience—the balance between the studied, perceived and the imagined. He is a masterful carpenter who combines inspiration found in nature with the traditions of his trade. Anderson’s use of rough hewn planks painted with watercolor physically reinforces the pictorial imagery to convey his sense of place. Though his use of shapes, brush strokes and color may appear to be entirely symbolic, in reality they are related to the natural subjects that surround him. Each work contains related moments tied together with some form of joinery suggesting the interconnectivity of ideas and/or personal observations.

Born in Billings, Montana, Jeff Anderson earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Art from Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, in 1970 and a Master of Fine Arts in Painting from Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, in 1972. His work is influenced by living in Japan for two years and New York City for 10 years. He reestablished himself in Red Lodge, Montana in 1993.

Download the on-line version of the exhibition catalog here.

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Jean Albus: Rapture on the Plains
Rothschiller Gallery
February 17—June 4, 2011
Artist’s Reception 5:30-7:30pm February 17, 2011

Jean Albus’s exhibition, Rapture on the Plains, introduces one of the region’s most sought out contemporary photographers in her first solo museum exhibition that will include 18 recent works. The artist uses the Montana landscape as a backdrop for expressions about her own history, the history of the land, her connection to it and the human conditions of joy, transition and mortality. Jean Albus currently resides near Bridger, Montana. She is a native Montanan who lived fifteen years in and around Seattle, Washington, before moving back to Red Lodge, Montana in 1988.

Of her work Jean states: "It’s exciting to watch my ideas evolve. I've learned to say 'yes' to them, see where they'll take me, be part of the adventure and then share it."

Download the on-line version of the exhibition catalog here.

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Uncommon Portraits from the Permanent Collection
May 4 – May 25, 2011
Dufresne & Cobb Foundations Gallery

Portraiture is an ancient art form that expresses unique attitudes of the artists and the cultures of their respective eras. Paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, mosaics, murals, and tapestries have all been utilized to capture the essence of individuals or express an idealized depiction of the human subject. With the invention of the camera in the 19th century, artists were less commonly called upon to record the human subject for posterity. However, portraiture remains a vital arena for the contemporary artist and potential patrons, since the artistic point of view captures an unlimited range of creative interpretation of the individual or idealized subject.

Mano-a-mano is, as the title suggests, an exhibition of portraits of and by men. The context of the exhibition is intended to re-frame the definition of portraiture and create an alternative context in which to consider the individual objects.

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Annual Great Falls Public Schools Art Students Exhibition
Wylder & Community Galleries
April 14-May25, 2011
Reception 4:30 - 6:30pm April 14th
Presentation of the annual Zach Culliton Merit of Distinction 5:30pm

The Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art is proud to present this annual art exhibition by local public school students. The work represents a year’s worth of instruction by some of the finest art educators working in the state of Montana. We not only congratulate these students for their accomplishments, but thank the classroom artists/educators who lead by example—challenging area youth to fully explore their potential—and the parents who encourage their children’s development in the arts.

Exhibition sponsored by:




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Theodore Waddell: The Weight of Memory - Selections from the Permanent Collection
Wylder Gallery
November 3, 2010 - May 25, 2011
Artist's Reception December 9, 2010; 5:30p-7:30p

As we bring to a close a year-long examination of the Montana landscape and “sense of place,” Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art is pleased to present Theodore Waddell: The Weight of Memory, selections from the permanent collection.  The exhibition features works that depict the Missouri River near Great Falls, Montana, prints inspired by Waddell’s ranching experience and the magnificent Cloud Landscape #5, a bold and dynamic painting that epitomizes the artist’s personal vision of the West. All of these works have been generously gifted to the museum’s permanent collection over the years, some from the artist and others from visionary collectors and philanthropists.  We are truly grateful for their generosity. 

Theodore Waddell is one of the Nation's best regarded painters. His contemporary paintings, drawings and prints capture the visual essence of life in the Rocky Mountain region full of grand vistas dotted by ubiquitous domestic livestock. His work is informed by a passion and personal knowledge of these subjects as well as the canon of historical painting that precedes him. His work is laden with expressive marks and layers of paint and brush strokes that reveal his roots in modernism and his continued devotion to his place in the West.

Theodore Waddell, a Montana native raised in Laurel, studied at the Brooklyn Museum Art School, Eastern Montana College, and Wayne State University, Detroit (MFA, 1968). He taught at the University of Montana from 1968 to 1976 and has since been a full time artist and rancher. He has had over ninety one-man exhibitions, including a major survey at the Eiteljorg Museum, Indianapolis.

As part of this project, The Square has produced a beautiful catalog which will be available for the first time the night of the Reception.  Members will receive one free catalog, and Non-Members will be $10/each.

Project funded by:

Exhibition funded by:

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Rachel Kaiser: Giving Way
Dufresne & Cobb Foundations Gallery
March 3-April 16, 2011
Reception 5:30-7:30pm March 3rd
ArtShare by Rachel Kaiser at 6pm

Giving Way will include new work created by Rachel Kaiser during her tenure as the Great Falls Public Schools Artist-in Residence, a joint program between the schools and The Square. The exhibition title is taken from the artist’s work that conveys a positive message about the value of generosity and it’s literal, emotional and spiritual impact.

Rachel’s diverse background and interest in the spiritual nature of art is evident in her work, which includes paintings, woodcarvings, drawings and shrines as well as murals and custom-made ceramic tile. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art at Viterbo University in LaCross, Wisconsin, and studied  at the Vermont Studio Center. She is a co-founder of On The River, a multi-media art gallery and Juxtapoz magazine credits her and her partner, Jonathan Heraux, for initiating the underground art movement in downtown Honolulu. She has received several national and local commissions including a 4-foot tall hand carved wood relief, The Spirit of Healing, in the surgery wing of St. Francis Hospital in Honolulu and a 17-foot-tall mural spanning seven walls and totaling 1800 square feet at The Peak Health and Wellness Center in Great Falls, which depicts children playing in a natural mountain landscape.

Exhibition sponsored by:

Joan and Paul Kaiser

Christine and Robert King

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VSA Montana Arts Exhibition
Great Falls Clinic Community Gallery
March 3-April 19, 2011
Reception 10am-2pm March 11th

Art is for Everyone is the essence of the Education Department at Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art.  It is the museum’s vision to be a venue for all artists regardless of ability or disabilityIn that spirit, the museum has offered VSA Arts Open Studio classes since 1996 when The Square became an affiliate for VSA Montana, a chapter of VSA International Arts nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. This exhibition showcases work created in The Square’s VSA classes during the past year

VSA The International Organization on Arts and Disability is an international, nonprofit organization founded in 1974 by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to create a society where all people with disabilities learn through, participate in and enjoy the arts. The VSA Montana Arts program was founded on the belief that "…the arts belong to everyone and everyone deserves equal access."

VSA Montana Arts showcases the accomplishments of artists with disabilities and promotes increased access to the arts for people with disabilities.  It also provides educators, parents and artists with resources and the tools to support arts programming in schools and communities. 

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Montana Painters Alliance Exhibition
Great Falls Clinic Community Gallery
November 18, 2010 - February 26, 2011
Artist's Reception November 18, 2010; 5:30p-7:30p

Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art is pleased to unveil an exhibition of paintings by the Montana Painter’s Alliance (MPA), a group of 25 professional Montana artists presented in the Great Falls Clinic Community Gallery. This gallery is intended for use by art related groups in the area, and exhibition proposals are considered by the museum’s curator of art throughout the year. Local patrons will recognize works by many of these accomplished artists and we thank them for contributing to the museum’s exhibition program. Special thanks go to the MPA leadership, Diana Brady (president) and Ron Ukrainetz (past president) for organizing the exhibition with the MPA members:

Lou Archambault, Diana Brady, Susan Blackwood, Todd Connor, Thomas English, Howard Friedland, Chuck Fulcher, Laurie Stevens Gilleon, Tom Gilleon, Jerry Inman, Phil Korell, Nick Oberling, Mark Ogle, Steve Oiestad, Mike Patterson, Bob Phinney, Sheila Rieman, Greg Scheibel, Deb Schmit, Aaron Schuerr, Steve Seltzer, Janet Sullivan, Ron Ukrainetz, Jeff Walker and Shirle Wempner.

All MPA’s artists have gone through a juried process to become members. They gather biannually in differing Montana locations for “paint outs” that involve three or four days of intensive plein air painting. In spite of the fickle nature of Montana’s weather, these artists meet and paint in all conditions. Field studies for future reference as well as finished paintings are produced at these paint outs where the MPA artists enjoy the camaraderie and expertise that each individual brings to the group.

Lincoln, Montana was the site for the MPA’s most recent paint out when fall colors in the beautiful Blackfoot Valley combined with some of the nicest weather possible. The event was capped with camaraderie over food, campfire and music. Many of the Blackfoot Valley paintings are featured in this exhibit alongside paintings produced from paint outs near Glacier, the Mission Valley, Judith River, Highwood area, Madison Valley, Big Timber, etc. 

While the MPA promotes excellence in representational outdoor paintings, the MPA artists are also accomplished at a variety of other subjects as witnessed in this exhibition.

For more information about Montana Painter’s Alliance and its individual members, please visit

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14th Annual Art Auction Exhibition
January 13 - February 2, 2011
Artists’ Reception 5:30-7:30pm Thursday, January 13th
Auction and Benefit Dinner Saturday, February 5th at Meadow Lark Country Club. For more information click HERE.

The Square is delighted to present a preview of work included in The Square’s upcoming 14th Annual Art Auction and Benefit Dinner to be held on Saturday, February 5, 2011 at the Meadow Lark Country Club. The event continues to evolve as one of the museum’s liveliest fund-raisers and proceeds support exhibition and educational programs at The Square throughout the year.

The preview exhibition is an opportunity for the museum to share a representative sampling of the inclusive world of contemporary art. Join area art lovers and exhibiting artists at a reception in their honor 5:30 – 7:30pm Thursday, January 13, 2011. Meet some of the finest regional artists and learn what inspires them in their creative endeavors. Auction art selections offer established and beginning collectors alike a variety of quality objects to consider for inclusion in their own collections. The reception is free to the public courtesy of Farmers Union Insurance and light refreshments will be served. So bring family and friends and help us thank the participating artists: Jean Albus, Martin Andrews, Sharie Babb, Dana Berardinis, Frances Carlson, Rudolf Dietrich, Monte Dolack, Bill Drum, Lisa Easton, Thomas English, Mollie Erkenbrack, Kevin Eveland, Kay Feist, Jacque Finnicum, Deborah Ford, Ruth Franklin, Halley Gallagher, Stephen Glueckert, Maryellen Gutacker, Alana Hastings, Sally Hickman, Carol Hoffnagle, Betsey Hurd, Lisa Jarrett, Bill Jaynes, Neil Jussila, Peter Keefer, Mary Ann Kelly, Nona Jane Kendall, Sylvia (Bunny) Lara, Shelle Lindholm, Cathryn Mallory, Brian Maly, Alan McNiel, Sheila Miles, Cate Moses, Dale Marie Muller, Davi Nelson,  Neltje, Michael Patterson, David C. Powers, Timothy Seery, Carlyle S. Smith, Kate Spencer, Julie A. Stevenson, Terry Thall, Echo Ukrainetz, Ron Ukrainetz, Shalene Valenzuela, Jane Waggoner Deschner, Jeff Walker, Shirle Wempner, Brenda Wolf and Monte Yellow Bird.

Download the on-line version of the exhibition catalog here.

Download an absentee bid form here.

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Mary Ann Kelly:
Rivers Remembered - Rivers Imagined
Thayer and Mungas Volk Galleries
September 16 - December 31, 2010
Artist's Reception 5:30 - 7:30pm September 16, 2010
Art Share Presentation by Mary Ann Kelly at 6pm

The Square presents recent work by Bozeman, MT artist Mary Ann Kelly whose paintings record her thoughts about language, relationships and the powerful natural forces that shape our world. The exhibition includes aqueous media on paper and board.

"When I am drawing I allow my thoughts about struggles and resolutions, opposition and balance to take form in lines, shapes and images. I am drawing areas of lush colors or rich shadows to invite and intrigue the viewer. The emotional tone of any one drawing is carefully contained in the dominance and balance of the formal qualities. The titles give only a small clue to the questions asked in the drawings, for these drawings are a personal connection with visual metaphor. The viewer must engage in the dialogue with their own sensibilities and responses. Traditions, sovereignty, patterns, and identity are common themes. The process of drawing continues to be as much about abstraction and clarification of image as it is about the sheer delight of line and color on paper." - Mary Ann Kelly

Mary Ann Kelly received a B.S. in Art Education at the State University College of New York, Buffalo, NY and moved to Bozeman, Montana to study at Montana State University for an M.F.A. in painting. She has received two National Endowment for the Arts awards and a Montana Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship award. She has exhibited in Camberwell College of Art, the London Institute, UK; the University of the West of England, Bristol, UK; Studio 7 Gallery, Holualoa, Hawaii; Gallery Paule Anglim, San Francisco, CA; Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL; Boise Municipal Art Museum Boise, ID; University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT; and many Montana museums.

Download the on-line version of the exhibition catalog here.

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Susan Thomas: Sublime Repose
Rothschiller Gallery
September 16 - December 31, 2010
Artist's Reception 5:30 - 7:30pm September 16, 2010
Art Share Presentation by Susan Thomas at 6:30pm

Sublime Repose is comprised of new mixed media work by Great Falls artist Susan Thomas who utilizes basket and boat forms to portray paradoxical notions about the balance between spiritual, intellectual and emotional containment utilizing both sublime and compulsive pattern making, color usage and mark making.

Susan Thomas was born in Connecticut and lived in many parts of the U.S. before moving to Great Falls in 1995 with her husband, Ken Kohoutek and son Ethan. Susan served as Curator of Education at Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art from 1996-2004 and currently is an Adjunct Professor of Art at the University of Great Falls. She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Sculpture from Southern Illinois University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts from Indiana University. Inspiration for her work comes from the natural environment of each place where she has lived, particularly areas near streams, rivers, and woodlands and from the rhythms of daily life.

Download the on-line version of the exhibition catalog here.

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Betsey Hurd: Natural Gaze
Wylder Gallery
June 10 - October 9, 2010

Continuing in its series of exhibitions exploring a sense of place, The Square presents recent work by one of northwestern Montana's most accomplished painters, Betsey Hurd. Primarily known for her paintings of livestock and Montana landscape, Betsey has been a featured artist in past art auctions and this will be her first solo exhibition at The Square.

Of her own life and work Betsey states: "The strength of my work comes from depicting what I know best - horses and livestock and the natural world.  I'm more into the feel and essence of things than the little details, though composition and correct conformation are always important.

I'm interested in the secret lives of animals and their own relationships without humans (even though life is meaningless without a horse). Even as a child, I could spend hours sitting in the pasture just watching what was going on there.  We have three draft cross mares now, and I try to ride at least two of them every day, and then take the experience back to the studio with me—or just haul an easel out to the pasture!" - Betsey Hurd

Betsey Hurd received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, cum laude, from the University of Montana, Missoula in 1984, with concentrations in ceramics and drawing. A working artist since 1990, she is currently represented at  ArtFusion, Bigfork, MT; Holter Museum, Helena, MT; Tierra Montana, Las Cruces, NM; Scottsdale Fine Art, AZ; A Horse Of A Different Color, Jackson Hole, WY and Jest Gallery, Whitefish, MT.  Her work is exhibited in numerous shows and housed in permanent collections across the country, including The White House, Washington, DC; The Hockaday Museum, Kalispell, MT; and the Nicolaysen Museum, Casper, WY.

Exhibition Sponsored by

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Deborah Ford: Cartography & the Cultural Terrain
Great Falls Clinic Community Gallery at The Square                        
July 22 - October 24, 2010
Reception 5:30 - 7:30pm July 22nd
ArtShare Presentation by the Artist 6pm July 22nd

Advances in science and technology has transformed 21st century photography, but many contemporary artists continue to choose analog capturing methods and darkroom processing over digital cameras, software aided processing and ink-jet printing to explore their visual ideas. Deborah Ford is such a photographer and her highly accomplished darkroom work rivals computer aided processing resulting in sharp images that are loaded with ironic content that mirrors her interests in the social aspects of land usage and the meanings calculated in static images.

Download the on-line version of the exhibition catalog here.

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Behind the Vault Door
Thayer, Mungas/Volk and Rothschiller Galleries
May 27 - September 4, 2010
Reception 5:30 - 7:30pm May 27th
ArtShare presentation of Behind the Vault Door a film by Allan Powers 6pm

With substantial funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, The Square enters a new phase in its history increasing the museum's ability to serve its mission. Over the next three years, this funding will support the thorough documentation of the museum's permanent collection along with augmentation and substantiation of all museum records pertaining to the permanent collection.

The first public awareness of the project's impact will come this spring with a focus on collection objects included in this exhibition, which will be the fifth in a series of exhibition in 2010 that focus on a "sense of place" in Montana.

The exhibition will feature fifteen recent gifts of work by Edward Glannon from the artist's estate. Edward Glannon represents the myriad number of artists who live/d elsewhere, but gravitated toward Montana at some point in their careers to record the magnificence of the land. Additionally the exhibition will examine works by nationally, regionally and locally known contemporary artists such as John Buck, Juane Quick-to-See Smith, Clarice Dreyer, John Giarrizzo and Ken Kohoutek who provide a less literal depiction of the landscape and a sense of place.

This exhibition will mark a new programming initiative that presents portions of the museum's collection on a rotating basis. The exhibition will be accompanied by an on-line catalog.

This new exhibition focus will enhance the viewer's understanding of art from our region while reinforcing the educational perspective of temporary exhibitions.

Download the Official Exhibit Catalog by clicking HERE!

Sponsored by:

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Annual Great Falls Public Schools Art Student Exhibition and
Great Falls Public Schools Advanced Placement Art Students Exhibition
Wylder, Great Falls Clinic, and Collectors Galleries
April 29 - May 26, 2010
Reception 4:30 - 6:30pm Thursday, April 29, 2010

These annual student exhibitions are favorites with The Square's patrons who look forward to supporting and nurturing local students and their creative endeavors in local schools. The 3rd Annual Zach Culliton Merit of Distinction will be awarded at the reception.

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Halley Gallagher: The ForestHalley Gallagher Postcard Image
Dufresne & Cobb Foundations Gallery
April 1 - June 29, 2010
Artist's reception 5:30 - 7:30pm Thursday, April 1, 2010
ArtShare Presentation by the artist at 6:00pm

"Within our society, we can embrace all things and when we act we should take into account their holistic effect. This is to realize that we are all one. One web, one life, we are connected to each other.

Through making this body of work, I have been exploring the concept of Dinergy as expressed in Gyorgy Doczi's book The Power of Limits. Dinergy means opposing energy; a universal process, creating pattern through opposites. The form of this pattern is dependent on the intersection of the opposing forces, how they share space. Dinergy is mathematically based on the Fibonacci sequence, a series of numbers in which each number is the sum of the two previous ones: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34... The sunflower, pinecone, DNA and peacock tails are examples of dinergic energy evident in nature.

Using the process of painting and drawing I have recreated dinergic patterns. I do
this to understand and communicate their subtle presence in our world. Even though
my works are fixed moments, they represent the kinetic energy, seemingly still, yet
in flux. The dinergic patterns resonate throughout everything, from the microscopic
level to the cosmic level." - Halley Gallagher

Halley Gallagher grew up in Great Falls, Montana graduating from C.M. Russell High
School in 2004, before she attended Creighton University where she earned her
Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Studio Painting. She recently returned to Great Falls
and has been selected by The Great Falls Public Schools and The Square as the Artist
in Residence for the Spring Semester in 2010.

Sponsored by:

2J's Fresh Market logo linked to their website

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Sample of Dana Berardinis's artworkDana Berardinis: True Remains
February 18 - May 15, 2010
Opening Reception February 18th, 5:30 - 7:30pm

"While growing up in a rural mid-western town, I preferred to spend my time in the fields and woods. Captured by the tones and textures of what I saw there, I would draw the trees and cornfields of my home. I would bring back collections of bark, corn husk and bones to reference and apply to my creations.

In 2004, I received a degree in fine art from the Cleveland Institute of Art. Upon graduating, I was eager to continue my explorations. My journey lead me westward to a place where I could paint freely without interruptions. Here in Montana, I find again, paths to the ever present tones and textures of the natural palette. I memorize what I see and make drawings as I explore the vast wilderness.

Powerful forces and cycles of nature have helped to shape and recreate the vast features of the land. Although nature's forces can be devastating, time reveals the Earth's ability to heal and transform itself, leaving behind a new surrounding that lives on.

The fires of Montana have opened up passages to what once was and what will be again - the remains of burned trees, scattered and hidden among the forest, provide signs of the past. Hill sides of blackened trees nurture and guard thousands of younger trees. The forest is recreating itself into a much healthier one. Old trees that have lived long lives finally get to rest in peace. They replenish the land with new seeds and fertilize the soil beneath them.

Fire has a very beautiful and intriguing life of its own. The intense flames seem to be a timeless gesture rolling across the horizon. When ash and smoke clear, new vistas welcome a breath of fresh air and signify new beginnings.

I find spontaneity and freedom in the power of nature, which inspires me in the creation of my work. I experience painting the way I do the landscape. It holds the same quietness the same search. Through the layering of paint and materials, I begin to find continuity with what I've discovered in nature. I scrape and burn into the surface. The materials I use (moss, charcoal, pine needles, duff and other organic materials) signify the surroundings from where they have been taken, allowing me to connect more directly with nature. I begin a new journey through each painting. As I paint, memories rush through me. Most of the time, I am searching for answers I can only come so close to understanding. I find something indescribable in nature that is never made completely clear in the form of language, which creates my need to paint.

Like the seasons, time transforms the forest and leaves only remnants of what once was, and truth remains." - Dana Berardinis

Download the on-line version of the exhibition catalog here.

Sponsored by:

Ugrin, Alexander, Zadick & Higgins, P.C. logo linked to their website

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Sample of Davi Nelson's artworkDavi Nelson: Vistas
February 18 - May 15, 2010
Opening Reception February 18th, 5:30 - 7:30pm

"My work is a reflection of the landscape I live in. It is not a portrait of a specific place, but rather an attempt to evoke a sense of place and a way of life in a rural environment." - Davi Nelson

Davi Nelson and her husband, Carroll, live on a ranch southwest of Ryegate, Montana, where they raise commercial cattle. The isolation of the location and its profound sense of space are the focus of her paintings.

Her work has been exhibited internationally in such diverse venues as Ireland, The American West, a 21st Century Retrospective; and China, Out West, The Great American Landscape. Past museum exhibitions include The Evocative Landscape at the Holter Museum, Helena, Montana; Contemporary Montana Artists at the Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman, Montana; Masters in Miniature at the C. M. Russell Museum, Great Falls, Montana; and Postcards of the Wild West at the Nicolaysen Museum, Casper, Wyoming. Her work may also be seen July 1 to October 1, 2010 in Montana Landscape: The Eye of the Beholder at the Holter Museum in Helena, Montana.

Davi Nelson's work is found in numerous private and corporate collections. She is represented by the Dana Gallery, Missoula, Montana, the Holter Museum, Helena, Montana, and Latigo and Lace in Augusta, Montana.

Download the on-line version of the exhibition catalog here.

Sponsored by:

Latigo & Lace Logo linked to their website     State Farm Logo

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Sample of Sarah Rowley's artworkSarah Rowley: PULSE
February 18 - May 15, 2010
Opening Reception February 18th, 5:30-7:30pm

"Centripetal motion patterns the fabric of existence. Macro and micro molecular beats inform an interconnected sense of place - periodic intersections of existence. The pulse, the process cannot be kept, only measured. We are in constant motion." - Sarah Rowley

Growing up in Grangeville, Idaho, Sarah Rowley's environment was infused with the permission to create. She was constantly supplemented with raw material while surrounded by the craftsmen and artists in her family.

Sarah graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art from the University of Montana, Missoula, Montana in 2007 and is finishing her tenure as the Great Falls Public Schools' Artist-in-Residence.

Sarah has worked as an Instructor of Art at Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art, focusing her efforts on broadening art access for non-traditional artists groups who participate in The Square's VSA Montana Arts program.

Facilitating art making has helped Rowley further understand her own process and concerns as an artist.

Sponsored by:

Knicker Biker logo linked to their website     2J's Fresh Market logo linked to their website




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