Academic Year Gallery Hours:
Tues, Wed, Sat: 12-3pm
Thurs, Fri: 12-6pm
Closed Monday, Sunday, and University Holidays
Summer Gallery Hours:
Wed, Thurs, Sat: 12-3pm
Closed Monday, Tuesday, Sunday and Federal Holidays
Whatever one’s philosophical inclination, light is intrinsic to our physical and spiritual selves. It gives us the power of vision so that looking and consequent ‘seeing’ is possible. Because the evolution of human intelligence is primarily based on information we have gathered through vision, light has come to mean illumination and enlightenment, a possession of the mind. Not only does it reveal what is around us, it also makes known that which is inside us. That illumination is often spiritual in nature, applied both to God as the source of divine light and to individuals who manifest it.
Award-winning photographer and professor Matthew Hamon created the profoundly arresting photographs in this exhibition partly while traveling in the Rocky Mountain West, and partly during a sabbatical that took him to Iceland. Through selections from that body of work, this exhibition contemplates a driving concept of Hamon’s creative work –Ratljóst. This Icelandic word translates to English as “sufficient light to navigate by.”
Herbert’s passage above prompts us to understand light, and through it our visual engagement with the natural world, as a portal to the sublime. Hamon’s photographs return us to a related 19th-century Romantic notion: that intense emotional states are a pure source of authentic aesthetic experience. This experience, with an emphasis on awe, even terror – especially when confronting the natural beauty of storms and wild landscapes, was thought to elevate human existence to something nobler than the scientific truths emerging from the forming scientific disciplines. Hamon’s pictures move us to consider that elevation of human existence, and to question our connection to place – even places thousands of miles apart – through myriad, complex stories of travel, work, home, and heritage.
This exhibition spans the career of an artist whose oeuvre traverses the vast expanse of European and American modernism, from post-impressionist scenes recalling the work of Paul Gauguin to New-York-style Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art. The generic title of “modernist” might therefore seem apt, but it warrants scrutiny.
After serving in the Army Air Corps in the second world war, Jack Franjevic was stationed in Great Falls. After relocating to Illinois, where he attended the Art Institute of Chicago, he went on to teach art at Grinnell College in Iowa, eventually returning to Montana to accept a professorship at a new liberal arts school – the College of Great Falls. During his tenure there he taught students who would go on to become creative titans in the state, including Steve and Bev Glueckert, James Todd, and others.
Like fellow war veterans and college professors Aden Arnold, Rudy Autio, Walter Hook and Peter Voulkos, Franjevic was a conduit that connected Montana artists to the art world beyond the Rocky Mountain West. Indeed, during his 1969 sabbatical tour of England, France, Germany and Italy, he visited museums, obsessively photographing in city after city, museum after museum. Franjevic proceded to invent a new medium, the Photostat, transferring photo images onto silkscreen onto canvas. If his earlier paintings seemed to comb European modernist styles, this new body of work combined realism with abstraction to transcend geographic space. In this sense, Jack Franjevic became a distinctly Montana modernist.
Monte Dolack is the most widely recognized and beloved artist in Montana. He will celebrate his 70th birthday in the year 2020. Simultaneously, MMAC will celebrate its 125th anniversary. As the inaugural exhibition of the museum’s sesquicentennial season and celebration, the show brings together some 80 original oil paintings, sketches, lithographs, and posters reflecting Dolack’s love of the natural world, blending his interest in storytelling and mythology with his profound sense of humor.
The artist’s keen observations of nature and his concern for environmental issues have led to commissions from dozens of conservation organizations like American Rivers, Defenders of Wildlife, the Nature Conservancy, and Trout Unlimited; and he has created over 300 posters and prints for various organizations since 1964. Dolack’s works can be found in the collections of the American Association of Museums, the Library of Congress, the National Wildfire Foundation, and many other prestigious museums and corporations.
Dolack has received countless awards. Most recently, in 2018, the Montana Arts Council bestowed on him the Governor’s Arts Award for lifetime achievement. In 2009, along with his late wife Mary Beth Percival, Monte received the Distinguished Fine Arts Alumni Award from UM’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. He was also selected by the Missoulian as one of the 100 most Influential Montanans of the 20th Century. Since 1993, he has managed a flourishing fine art studio/gallery in Missoula, Montana. His work is available at Monte Dolack Fine Art and dolack.com, as well as at The Frame of Mind Gallery in Missoula.