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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."

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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