Photo: Monte Yellowbird or Black Pinto Horse (Arikara and Hidasta), detail of Let the People Stop Crying, I Will Make a Pathway Through This Water, oil on canvas, no date, courtesy of the artist, copyright the artist.

Expressing Montana

June 10 2011 - August 28 2011

Montana is a place where artists are not afraid to use their work to speak out about the state of things. The diversity of their commentary says a good deal about the state. Expressing Montana is an exhibit, hour-long Montana Public Radio special, and event that focuses on social, political, and environmental commentary --poets, songwriters, visual artists -- from right to left, from folk to fine, from rural to urban.

Some of the Montana artists featured in the exhibit include: Bill Ohrmann (Drummond), a metal sculptor and painter whose work portrays the consequence of environmental and social ills; Kate Davis (Florence), who learned metal sculpture from Ohrmann joins the exhibit; Monte Yellow Bird Sr., (Great Falls), collects antique documents and overlays American Indian iconography as a statement about American history; Dave Bogess (Butte), carves an iconoclastic vision of nature and society. Artists Toni Seccomb (Butte), and Kristi Hager (Missoula), make statements about greed, heart, and faith. Ray Jacobs of Eureka devotes his life to making as small an impact on the earth as possible. Even his guitars and other stringed instruments are built from found materials such as cardboard.

The exhibition was researched and assembled by guest curators Hal Cannon and Taki Telonidis. An archive of interviews and documentation forms the basis of this project sponsored by the Western Folklife Center, a regional organization dedicated to the grassroots culture of the West, with generous support from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. Listen to the Montana Public Radio special.