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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.

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.

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

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