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Tues, Wed, Sat: 12-3pm
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Closed Monday, Tuesday, Sunday and Federal Holidays
(Top) James Todd, Patriot Parade, 2005, acrylic and oil woodblock print. Courtsey of the artist.
(Bottom) James Todd, Patriot Parade, ca 1942-1944, graphite on newsprint. Courtesy of the artist.
On the occasion of his retirement from teaching at the University of Montana in 2000, James Todd’s mother paid him a visit bearing a collection of drawings he had made between the ages 5 and 8. He had not seen the drawings in over 50 years. The fluid lines of his pencil drawings of American GI’s returning from war in Europe, knights in armor, or a visit to the dentist seem to greet the artist – now in his seventies – across the years. In this exhibition and the accompanying catalog, Todd has reinterpreted his childhood drawings through woodcut printing, the medium for which he is perhaps best known today.
By his own description, James Todd decided long ago not to confine his creative work to any particular approach or aesthetic philosophy. By any measure, Looney Toones is the triumphant result of that decision, exemplifying Todd’s own definition of the Modern artist, "whose expression could grow and change along with the course of the artist’s life experiences and interests."
Each drawing accompanies a contemporary print that, while based closely on the original forms, embodies the intervening decades by embellishing upon, even reimagining altogether the child’s experience. Todd has given expression to the essentially modern human experience of encountering one’s own past, across decades, through both memory and creativity.
Richard Buswell, Mine Bits, 2013. Black and white photograph.
As all great photographers do, Richard Buswell disrupts our normal vision. His photographs of commonplace objects, absent their typical surroundings, interfere with our comprehension, forcing us to look again. His stark, apparently simple images help us penetrate the superficial appearance of objects from Montana’s past to contemplate the multiple, complex meanings that their histories and presence convey. And, perhaps, stir us to consider the things we will leave behind.
This exhibition presents a new body of work by fourth-generation Montana photographer Richard Buswell. Buswell has been photographing Montana settlement sites, ghost towns and frontier homesteads for over forty years, and the present collection of photographs displays his evolving relationship with his subject. Increasingly abstract and ethereal, Buswell has exhibited internationally and his work is included in the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Corcoran Gallery of Art; the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film; Baltimore Museum of Art; Brooklyn Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University; Library of Congress; Detroit Institute of Arts; Yale University Art Gallery; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Denver Art Museum; Seattle Art Museum, and Montana Museum of Art & Culture.