Current Exhibition

Stevens - Self Portrait
Marguerite Stevens Maloney, Untitled (Self Portrait with Rifle and Wildflowers), ca 1900.
Courtesy UM Archives and Special Collections.

Intimate West: Women Artists in Montana 1880 – 1944

January 26, 2017 – May 27, 2017 | Paxson & Meloy Galleries, PARTV Center

This exhibition focuses on pioneering artists with important Montana ties, who lived or traveled in Montana at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20thcentury and significantly contributed to the aesthetic and cultural milieu of the state. Included are Beatrice Howie Mackey, Frances Faick Walker, Fra Dana, Josephine Hale, Frances Carroll Brown, Marguerite O. Stevens, Evelyn Cameron and Mamie Elizabeth Burt as well as artists associated with Winhold Reiss’s Glacier School: Elizabeth Lochrie, Elsa Jemne, and Caroline Granger.

The creative output of these artists defies typical Western iconography. They abandoned imagery celebrating territorial conquest or the mythological cowboy. Instead, they turned toward adapting European pictorial traditions like French Impressionism to uniquely western subject matter, capturing the practical character and unsentimental aesthetic of the region through personal portraits and scenes of domestic life. Spontaneous photographs frequently documented specific moments in the history of the Treasure State, as in Marguerite Stevens’ 1911 photograph, First Flying Machine in Montana. Other works contemplate human frailty in an environment where natural forces overwhelmingly determined one’s daily experience. Viewers might identify such allegorical content in the wilting cabbage in a delicate still-life by Josephine Hale.

A publication of the same name will accompany the exhibition, generously funded in part by the Morris and Helen Silver Foundation.