By Sarah Gianelli EBS Associate Editor
BIG SKY – Old Main Gallery and Framing will host a group exhibition featuring new works by Missoula artist Monte Dolack, Bozeman’s Carol Guzman and California-based Emilie Lee. The exhibition will be on display through December, with an opening reception on Saturday, Nov. 4 from 6 to 9 p.m.
Connected by their avid support of the American Prairie Reserve, situated on the highlands surrounding northeastern Montana’s Missouri River, the artists will donate 10 percent of sales from the show to the nonprofit.
When complete, the American Prairie Reserve will be the largest protected landscape in the continental U.S. and provide habitat for the native animals that once roamed the Great Plains.
All three artists participating in the exhibit have spent time on the reserve and have developed an intimate relationship with the land and the wildlife that inhabit it.
Lee first learned about the American Prairie Reserve while living in New York City and looking for a project that would combine adventure and a meaningful story she could share through her artwork.
“I was inspired by APR’s success,” Lee said. “And it seemed like a positive story that was important to share with the world as we face increasing threats to our wild places. I hope that when others hear this story they are encouraged to continue fighting for conservation.”
Camping on the reserve for a month and shadowing wildlife researchers, Lee developed an ability to paint the landscape with increased curiosity and sensitivity.
All of Lee’s paintings were created from either direct observation or memory, and represent two years of exploration and research, resulting in tender renditions of the understated beauty of the prairie, from the fleeting gumbo primrose to the infinite horizons.
Dolack, an artist of international repute who has worked with many conservation organizations throughout the West, has visited the American Prairie Reserve twice for multiple-day visits.
“I am interested in [APR’s] bold and visionary mission of eventually establishing a national park devoted to the prairie,” said Dolack, who did a series of landscapes inspired by his time there. Having grown up in Great Falls, Dolack said he has a deep personal connection with big open spaces.
For Guzman, the prairie is often an over-looked, under-valued portion of the American West.
Through paintings that depict the region’s wildlife, largely birdlife, she hopes to inform and educate people about a part of Montana she feels few people know about or visit.
“The area is very unique and expansive,” Guzman said. “It is a true grassland that was never sod busted, so [remains] native prairie. I have been there numerous times and it evokes feeling in me that I have not experienced in any mountain range or geography normally thought of as Montanan landscape.”
Old Main Gallery and Framing is located at 124 Main Street in Bozeman. For further information on “Infinite Landscape” and the participating artists please call (406) 587-8860, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit oldmaingallery.com.