Holter Museum of Art

Helena, MT




Three Exhibitions of Equine Art at Holter Museum of Art


Three exhibitions, Old Paint New: The Image of the Horse in Contemporary Art, The Image of the Horse: Works on Paper and The Image of the Horse: Selections from the Permanent Collection will be on display from January 15 through March 4, 1999.

Old Paint New: The Image of the Horse in Contemporary Art

Horses have held a special fascination for artists throughout history and the trend continues today. But how does the horse fit in the psyche of the contemporary art world? This theme is explored in the exhibition Old Paint New: The Image of the Horse in Contemporary Art. Three years in the making, Old Paint New brings together for the first time the talents of four Montana and four New Mexico artists in a stunning visual display of works that is certain to stimulate the imagination.

Filtered through the vision of each artist, the theme investigates a variety of concepts ranging from formal aesthetic principles of composition, form, and color to complex issues of tribal alienation. The artists, which include Rudy Autio, Dana Boussard, Deborah Butterfield, Theodore Waddell from Montana, and Luis Jimenez, Jenny Lind, Holly Roberts and Jaune Quick-to-See Smith from New Mexico, use the horse as a platform from which to address their own artistic concerns and convey their individual messages.

Rudy Autio essentially views the horse as a decorative element for his torso-like clay vessels. Like the pottery of old, he marries the surface drawing to the ceramic body. His imagery is playful, fluidly applied and colorful. Along similar lines, Theodore Waddell employs aesthetic considerations to formulate his expressionistic paintings: the linear shape of the animal, its relation to the landscape, the colors involved. Dana Boussard, on the other hand, invests the horse with personal as well as historical significance. Her large fiber constructions are in fact narratives that use a vocabulary of symbolic images to tell a story. Deborah Butterfield's interest in capturing more esoteric qualities, such as the essence or spirit of the horse, is a perfect match for her abstract sculptures made of discarded metal parts and cast bronze.

Larger-than-life, the work of Luis Jimenez practically hums with suppressed power. Cast in fiberglass and painted in bright colors, his oversize mustangs communicate the vitality and dynamic energy of the American culture, especially the new West. On a more personal level, Jenny Lind interprets her life's journey through a series of small clay figures of standing horses and female riders in which animals and humans are so closely linked that they start melding into each other. Introspective and darker in mood, the painted photographs of Holly Roberts probe the shadowy realm of unspecified terrors and nebulous menace which haunt animals and humans alike. In contrast, the work of Jaune Quick-to-See Smith is firmly anchored in reality. Replete with visual and verbal puns, her imagery assumes complex and layered meanings. The horse is much more than a horse when viewed through the context of her Native American upbringing.

These artists have garnered national and international reputations by creating mature bodies of works that balance formalist aesthetic strategies with intuitive responses gleaned from their environs and personal experience. By imparting their visual interpretations of the horse, they have allowed us to see ourselves. The exhibition will be on display in the Sherman Gallery from January 15 to March 4, 1999. A full color catalogue is available.

The Image of the Horse: Works on Paper

A companion exhibition limited to works on paper explores the horse theme in greater detail. Artists Rudy Autio, Joanne Berghold, Dana Boussard, Clarice Dreyer, Kathryn Kress, Jenny Lind, Sheila Miles, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, and Theodore Waddell offer diverse interpretations of the horse ranging from decorative symbol to abstract shape to politicized icon.

The Image of the Horse: Selections from the Permanent Collection

In addition, selected works from the collection which focus on the horse theme will be on display.

From top to bottom: Dana Boussard, The Search for Earth and Sky, 1997, fiber construction, 63 x 49 inches; Luis Jimenez, Mesteno, 1998, fiberglass, 8' 2" high.

Read more about the Holter Museum of Art in Resource Library Magazine.


rev. 9/20/10

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