Photo: Anne Appleby, The River, 2016, oil on canvas, 60 x 215 inches, courtesy and copyright of the artist.

Anne Appleby: A Hymn For The Mother

August 6 2021 - December 30 2021

Observing and responding to her the forest surrounding her home and studio outside of Jefferson City, Montana, artist Anne Appleby distills her perceptions of natural elements as they perpetually alter throughout their life cycles. In this new series of works, Appleby addresses the collective angst we are experiencing, consciously or not, regarding the rapidly changing climate. Through a subtle approach employing various mediums and imagery, the exhibition examines the romantic ideas we hold culturally in relation to the reality and effects of a warming planet. Appleby states “I have spent the last twenty-three years painting the landscape of my Montana home, in a reductive language observing the cyclical nature of trees and plants. I use this language in the exhibition but also explore a traditional style of romantic landscape painting.”

"As an elegy to Mother Earth in face of unprecedented environmental destruction, A Hymn for the Mother may be best understood through the lens of forward-thinking conservation practices and legislation and the development of the environmental movement in Montana. Usually, contemporary art falls on one end of a spectrum while environmental policy and activism lie elsewhere, unrelated, but Appleby manages to create a body of work that bridges this traditional division. This is not to say that Appleby’s work is overtly political. Rather, the environmental movement in Montana works as an armature to support deeper engagement and a better understanding of the artist’s practice and her work." —Brandon Reintjes, senior curator at MAM.

This exhibition is sponsored by The Wren and Ruth & Kim Reineking.

Anne Appleby lives on a timbered mountainside outside of Jefferson City, Montana. Her home and studio look into the woods where the landscape and flora provide Appleby with endless inspiration. She is known for painting focused meditations on the natural cycles of plants and trees. A Hymn for the Mother is a departure for Appleby with limited, muted color paintings that explore traditional, romantic landscapes as opposed to distillations of pure color.

A Hymn for the Mother is Appleby’s third major exhibition at MAM including Anne Appleby and Wes Mills in 2000 and Here We Are in 2009. She was a Portland Art Museum Contemporary Northwest Artists Award winner in 2013. Born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Appleby earned a BFA at the University of Montana in 1977 and an MFA in 1989 from the San Francisco Art Institute. Appleby is represented by Franklin Parrasch Gallery in New York, and Parrasch Heijnen Gallery in Los Angeles.

“My interest as a painter is in the fragile and ever-changing phenomena of the temporal world in which we live. There is a subtle and rich beauty in our lives when we honor this seemingly obvious truth. I paint plants because they reflect this truth in their annual cycles through the seasons that come about through exposure to light.” 

anne appleby, hymn, hymn for the mother, hymn to the mother
Installation view of Anne Appleby: Hymn for the Mother, image by Slikati Photo + Video.

Watch this preview of the exhibition:


Hymn is available now! This exquisite catalog features essays by Grace Kook-Anderson, Tyler Green, John Yau, and Brandon Reintjes. Support for this publication comes from the Andy Warhol Foundation, Franklin Parrasch Gallery & Parrasch Heijnen Gallery, Los Angeles, Jon Lodge, and Tinworks Art.

Full color, 120 pages, 10 x 10 1/2" $30 for MAM members, $40 for nonmembers

Related events

Friday, September 24 // 5 to 7 PM // Exhibit opening reception

Saturday, September 25 // 1 PM // Gallery talk with Tyler Green, catalog essayist

Thursday, December 23, 2 to 5 PM // Book signing with the artist 

Saturdays with MAM // Guided meditation practice and artmaking worksheet

Watch this interview with the artist and MAM's curator of education, Kay Grissom-Keily: