An eclectic, contemporary art gallery in the heart of Bozeman, Montana
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Artist Bios: Paintings
Featured June Artists: Jenny Christiansen & Mike "Ryno" Ryan
Former Bozeman residents now living in the Utah desert outside of Zion National Park, Jenny and Ryno will be showing a series of bright, colorful paintings inspired by their time spent in both the wilds and gardens of Montana and Utah. Utilizing lush texture and vibrant color, each scene reflects the all too brief but brilliant moments of a Western summer, each seen from their own unique perspective. When hiking, do you stop and become engrossed in a single patch of wildflowers, or do you look further afield to the slopes and mountains at the horizon? The work of these two artists will appeal to your preferred perspective as well as challenging you to take in a different view.
Jenny is a jewelry designer whose beautiful and meticulously detailed beadwork has always been botanically inspired. The jump from beaded to painted flowers was a very natural one, as it simply expanded her canvas size and loosened her style. In contrast, Ryno’s work features larger landscapes and sweeping views, as if the eye had merely looked up and beyond Jenny’s intimate florals. Together their work creates a conversation about perspective and our relationship with the environment around us.
Jenny Christiansen Acrylic and Oil Pastel on Panel
Mike "Ryno" Ryan Oil on Canvas
Featured July Artist: Alissa Durling
Alissa Durling is an artist based in the Northwest whose work primarily takes the form of abstract landscape paintings of personally significant locations. Her interest in and appreciation of the natural world can be traced back to her childhood, spent in the scenic small-town of Hamilton, Montana. Upon graduating high school, Alissa moved to Portland to attend the Oregon College of Art and Craft where she received her BFA in Craft with a concentration in Drawing and Painting in May 2013. After completing her degree, she spent a year launching her painting career in the San Juan Islands, Washington where she gained wide recognition and received several awards and commissions. Her work is part of the permanent collection of the City of Anacortes on Fidalgo Island and is displayed in the Anacortes Hospital and Municipal Building. Now Alissa has returned to her first love as a painter, The Bitterroot Valley. She is currently enjoying being a new mom and painting from her home in Corvallis, Montana. Her newest paintings reflect the majesty of the Big Sky as well as the joy and peace that the mountains bring her.
“Without the trees or rivers, there would be no paint, no descriptive words, no stories, no feelings. The beauty each holds is ingrained in me, and as long as I can see peaks, valleys and endless sky, the work will come, the paint will be applied and the result, much like the landscape itself, transcendent.”
Kaetlyn Able was born and raised outside of Boston Massachusetts. She majored in studio art at Wellesley College and went on to earn an MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 2004. She has exhibited her work widely throughout the Northeast, and her paintings are in numerous private collections throughout New England and New York. In 2010, after the birth of her first son, Kaetlyn took time off from her work to become a stay-at-home mom. In 2011 she relocated to Libby, Montana with her young family before moving to Bozeman in 2012. Today she works out of her home studio in Bozeman while her two little boys are sleeping, making art alongside her or playing nearby.
Artist Statement: In this new group of botanical portraits and flowery houses I am exploring ideas about a human connection to nature, tension between natural and man-made worlds, identity, memory and the passing of time. Using a variety of techniques to create intricately detailed paintings and drawings, it is my goal to create images that are playful, wistful, thought-provoking and evocative.
The subjects of my portraits come from my collection of antique photographs. I spend a lot of time looking at these images, wondering about the people pictured. I imagine what their lives, personalities and relationships might have been like. Were they happy? Were they in love? What were their dreams and desires? I am most interested in the carefully orchestrated studio portraits. The formality of the subjects’ elaborate, restrictive clothing, stiff poses and serious expressions speak volumes to me about societal expectations and constraints. I combine these portraits with wild, unexpected botanical elements to evoke a secret inner life that I’ve imagined for the character.
As I developed my portrait series, I began to imagine dwelling places for the characters I was creating. As a relative newcomer to Bozeman and to Montana, the landscape and history are all new to me and I find them deeply fascinating. My flowery house series emerged from discoveries I have made while exploring and reading about the city and the surrounding areas. I’m particularly interested in the ways that the landscape has changed over time. What did it look like before settlers arrived and began to build? The Native American tribes of Montana called the Gallatin Valley “The Valley of Flowers.” This name inspired my own take on the notion of a ghost town, where flowers that once ruled the landscape begin to reclaim the city.
Susan is self-taught artist from Billings, MT. She comes from a very artistic family, her dad was an oil painter and her mom a classical guitarist. This makes for a very creative child who is still coloring and sketching her way through life.
Susan hasn't always pursued a career in art. It wasn't until years after her Dad passed away, leaving all of his painting treasures , that she knew she needed to paint to feel complete. "I am using the same palette knives he used. That inspires me."
Susan found her style by trying out different brushes and tools. She soon fell in love with the various sizes and shapes of the palette knive. "I can create an interesting effect by stacking and carving the paint." She paints all kinds of subjects from wildlife and fish to people and buildings. Her work comes to life by its layers and layers of color and texture.
"I believe fine art should be the focus of a room not an accessory. Whether it is bold in color or soft and reflective it should be a conversation waiting to happen. If the color draws you in and the texture makes you want to touch, I have done what I have set out to do as an artist."
As a lover of color, and inspired by the nature that surrounds me, I utilize a combination of waxes and oil paints – both transparent and opaque- to convey my take on what I see as organic beauty. I strive to create a luminescent sense of depth and richness in my paintings by working layers of multiple patterns, colors and markings into the wax by building up each plane to produce the atmosphere I value from environments that catch my eye. I grew up right here in Bozeman, Montana, studied graphics at MSU, fine art in Missoula, had a design business for a while, then moved to New York and started a family. I moved to the Montana Hi-line 12 years ago and taught high school until recently, after my husband's career brought me back to my hometown. Now I try to spend as much time as possible in my studio. Even though my family goes back 5 generations in Montana, I have never been excited by what people might call traditional western art; however, Montana does influence my art. While my work is composed of representational images of Montana landscapes, it also contains geometrically- inspired, yet unrefined patterns not commonly seen by the naked eye in the physical world. Amplifying biologically-inspired microscopic repetitions and forcing them to reside alongside the images we see as obvious in nature serves as a reminder of the importance of the parts to a whole which is how I hope viewers see my work – as a whole depiction of nature comprised of unexpected and appealing multiple ingredients.
Kathy Bonnema Leslie, a Colorado native, makes her permanent home in Montana where she has maintained a studio since 1994. Her work has been exhibited in numerous one woman and group shows across the country. Ms. Leslie was awarded the University of Northern Colorado Visual Art Scholarship where she completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts.
As a painter and print maker, my work is the visual language in which I see the world. I have always been greatly affected by my natural surroundings and am intrigued by the power they have over feelings and our own sense of place. Regardless of medium, I favor a glazing or layering technique, which produces rich vibrant color. I strive to generate the striking color harmonies that I see in nature, and the three dimensional light that plays over the surface of the landscape. I feel it is important to not only paint the subject, but the air between myself and the subject, creating a sense of atmosphere, space and feel. I prefer to work in a "series" as it allows me to explore ideas more fully. The series titles for both original paintings and serigraphs refer to geographical locations, or life events that have generated ideas for numerous paintings.
An original hand pulled serigraph is one of the highest quality art prints available. Most lithographs, commercial serigraphs and Iris prints rely on film and computer imaging to mechanically produce the finished product. The serigraphs available on this site were created entirely by hand, by the artist. Each color requires a separate screen and each screen is hand drawn. Paint is transferred through a fine mesh fabric onto paper. The areas that are not to be printed are blocked with an impermeable substance and the ink is forced through the remaining "open areas." The printing is done with acrylic paint on museum quality 100% cotton rag paper. A printing can take from two weeks to over a month to complete, and when these small editions are finished the image can never be repeated.
Since earning a Masters degree at the University of Montana, Alan McNiel has worked as an independent studio artist for over 25 years, exhibiting in museums, galleries, and art festivals throughout the west. Alan calls Troy, Montana home.
Born and raised in Bozeman, Montana, Rachel is at home in wilderness. She can be found skiing, painting, mountain biking, climbing, and traveling to wild places. Rachel also loves nannying, teaching art lessons, and volunteering with at-risk adolescents. For the last five years, she has been pursuing her BFA in painting and is graduating this December. Rachel's work expresses the experience of being in wild places, and this show highlights recognizable ranges and peaks in the mountains around Bozeman. Her landscapes surround us in undulating energy, dazzling light, or else convey quiet solitude. The joyful nature of these paintings, with their vibrant colors and stylized forms, are reminiscent of the feeling of moving through a dynamic and billowing world of light and shadow.
AM Stockhill has always been drawn to the uniqueness and possibilities of art. AM began her path to a career in art while still in college, earning her Bachelors Degree in art at the University of Montana in 2005. During college she took many workshops in watercolor, and enjoyed discovering a passion for abstract art. She was fascinated by the opportunities presented by taking a non-traditional approach to painting, and found a way to incorporate the unusual into the western genre. AM has been working professionally as a contemporary western artist since graduation.
AM Stockhill specializes in richly textured painting surfaces, and warm, earth-inspired tones. AM's experimentation with texture adds a distinctive three-dimensional style to her work. Of special interest to AM are the subtle variations in colors and surfaces created in her "Rock Wall" series, in which she brings the appearance and feeling of stone into her backgrounds by the application of many layers of textural mediums. AM's "Woven" series signifies endurance in her technique of ripping canvas into strips before weaving them back together into a richly textured painting surface. Perhaps her most recognized technique is the timeless spirit created by the integration of old book pages into paintings, as in the "Book" series. Books that have lost their intrinsic value due to damage are preferred. Old Western novels, history books, and other papers from the past help portray the passage of time. AM is especially drawn to painting the spirit of the subject, its beauty, passion and power. The application of many thin layers of pigment are used to create a sense of depth, and build the luminosity and emotional impact that AM seeks.
AM's work has been featured in publications such as Southwest Art Magazine, Mountain Living Magazine, 2012 Best of Worldwide Abstract and Mixed Media Artists and Poets of the American West, published in 2010, in which her painting graced the cover of the book.
Artist Statement: "I prefer to paint the essence of my subject matter, capturing its strength, passion and beauty. I am fascinated by the possibilities and impact of combining texture with subject matter, and enjoy taking my work in new and unusual directions. I am drawn to subtle, earthy colors, and the unique timelessness that they convey in my subject matter."
The creative process makes the difference between living and dying, a fact that gallery owner/artist Lexi Sundell experienced in her own life and sees in the lives of others. An internationally known artist, she teaches workshops to foster the creative process, often through painting in acrylics. Creative consciousness was the subject of her 2014 TedX Whitefish talk.
She was mostly known for her floral paintings until an unusual dream about a dangerous black panther in her kitchen provoked a sharp left turn in her painting. As a result, her current body of work features animals and birds as totems for the human spirit. A respected expert in acrylics, she applies multiple layers of paint and texture, often on large canvases, to achieve her distinctively rich colors in paint.
Her paintings have taken awards in juried competitions such as the first international Blossom—The Art of the Flower exhibition and the Avant Garden show at the Torpedo Art Factory. Her work appears in collections throughout the world and has been shown in museums such as the C. M. Russell Museum, Yellowstone Art Museum, the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, and others.
She has written two books on the subject of acrylics. Painting Acrylic Flowers A-Z was published by North Light in the USA, Search Press in the UK, Simon and Schuster in Australia, and later translated and published in French, Dutch, German, Italian, and Korean. Her most recent book, Creating Exceptional Color in Acrylics, was released by Barron’s in the USA and Search Press in the UK in 2012 and is also available in German, French, Italian, and Dutch. She also has an online training, Luminous Flowers in Acrylic, on the craftsy.com site.
A native Texan educated at Michigan State University and the University of Toronto, she first studied art history. Then she worked as a potter and later became one of the top six precision wax-carving specialists in North America in jewelry design.
Her mother’s family abounded in professional artists and her great-uncle, Marvin Lenschow, tutored her in oils in her teens. The love of painting he instilled in her never left and she kept returning to paint until it became her primary creative passion. She now finds her greatest painting inspiration living in the midst of the mountains of Montana.