Hundreds of Small Pieces in Huge Holiday Art Show | Art and theatre

The walls of the Radius Gallery are running out of space for all the contemporary art during the annual Holiday Art Show.

The show is “a celebration of Montana’s creative community,” said Lisa Simon, co-owner of Radius.

The gallery estimates there are 150 artists and more than 600 individual pieces, making it one of the largest group shows in Missoula each year. About 80% are from Montana and 50% from the city. About 60 artists, including their represented artists, were asked to submit pieces and then made an open call for more to sign.

Many of the works are small: ceramic cups and small 2D works that start in the $50 zone and go higher and higher for large paintings and sculptures.

The work will hang on the wall until Nov. 17, when people can come pick it up, and the gallery will start bringing in more pieces, including a major rehang on Small Business Saturday on Nov. 27.

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With the sheer volume of work there is a give and take between accessible art and things further afield.

“Often the conversation goes, ‘Wow, that’s wild, check it out,'” and so it goes, said Jason Neal, a co-owner.

Putting up and arranging the show takes days and produces fun and shocking juxtapositions of those styles as you walk through the space.

You’ll see detailed realistic seascapes by Asha MacDonald and pastel landscapes by Bobbie McKibben, whose depiction of outdoor scenes shows her background in creating abstract expressionist markers, Simon said.

Then there’s Gabs Conway’s “The First Born,” a tuberous, fleshy ceramic creature with fingers for legs and a jutting mouth that would find a good home with an HR Giger superfan.

Neal said Missoula has many different layers of talented performers. Students who come from UM are always strong. Then there are mid-career artists, both full-time professional artists and not, who “make great stuff,” and then a higher tier of creators who create nationally recognized work, “all in this little mountain town.”

There will be a special online sale on November 29 of pieces by an established group of local residents: ceramicists Adrian Arleo, Julia Galloway, Beth Lo and Shalene Valenzuela, and painter Stephanie Frostad.

The names of younger artists are everywhere: Austin Navrkal’s “Kirkos” is an elegant sculpture, not unlike a Zen Enso circle in watercolor, except it’s made of bent steel bars and soda-fired ceramics. (He’s an MFA candidate at the University of Montana.) Elsewhere are recent graduates like Brooke Armstrong, who submitted wall pieces with white porcelain spheres on wire like a closely spaced bead curtain or a surreal montage of jewelry or sacred objects.

Claudia Roulier, a recent transplant in Montana, contributed assemblage sculptures. “Circular Argument” is built around what appears to be a vintage tuba-style instrument and a bicycle wheel. Lions, bears, horses and a Pinocchio populate the rim, with an animal skull ringing the bell of the horn.

Printmaker James Todd, a retired University of Montana professor emeritus, has a small wall to himself for his finely etched images. It includes portraits, such as James Welch from Todd’s Montana series, and a stoic John Lennon rendering.

Attention movie buffs. As you go up, stop at Relic Gallery, around the corner to the back of the building. They are temporarily exhibiting a piece by a private collector: James Rosenquist’s diptych “Samba School,” a pop abstract painting with photo collage-like layers from 1986. In Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street,” predatory financier Gordon Gekko engages in an auction-bidding war to get his hands on it. to get.

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