In the small street-facing gallery window this month is a two-person show by Caroline Davis and Sandi Bransford, both from the Puget Sound in Washington state. Davis brings considerable skill and creativity to her metalsmithing, creating elegant yet affordable and unique jewelry. Bransford uses ceramic, natural objects, paints and patinas to achieve her organic textural figures. Read more about these two artists and see their new work. See something you like while you're strolling by at 11pm or before downtown wakes up? Just scan the QR code in the window and grab it before it's gone!
Our Gallery Family has Grown!
We are delighted to introduce Bruce Kitts to the Helena arts community, especially since Helena is such a devoted ceramics town. Joining 1+1=1 Gallery recently, Bruce begins with a gorgeous display of his atmosphere-fired pots in our large front window. Make sure to check out his artwork as you stroll downtown, and come in during gallery hours to see them up close and personal.
Like Any Trilogy in Progress ... We Anticipate the Next Book in This Series
We are pleased to be able to show the delicate, poignant art of Michele Landsaat. Her work is shown as original prints, -- some with chine colle´ -- that are also part of her artist books.
At 1+1=1 this month, we are showing Landsaat's works from three different series - the trilogy, What Was Lost & What Was Found, comprised of three related stories, Apple, Water and Seed; the Gardener series and the Fountain series.
Michele Landsaat's prints are part of our 2019 Works on Paper exhibit, running from June 25th through August 9th. Check out our online catalog for available works by Michele, and of course, if you are in Helena Montana, please stop in person by for a cup of coffee and a stunning exhibit! Read on for Michele's Narrative Descriptions
written by Claire Bachofner
First thing’s first
“Color drives everything I do,” explains Tina Garrick Albro when describing her passion for printmaking. Upon arriving at her shared studio in Seattle, Washington, she takes her time, methodically lining out her materials. “It’s a nice doorway into the work. I’d say I spend about an hour or so dinking around.” Most artists can relate. It’s much less daunting to conquer the practical, dipping one toe at a time into the pool of creativity then it is diving in head first.
Albro chuckles as she explains that one of the 30 artists she shares the (Pratt Fine Arts Center) studio with is an avid rollerblader and, therefore, also an avid disco fan. With, say, Saturday Night Fever pumping in the background, Albro begins her day by carefully selecting a pair of rubber gloves and laying them down in a particular spot. She chooses exactly 4 cotton rags; folding and stacking them neatly. She measures out her non-toxic cleaners, vegetable oil and simple green, and sets them within reach.
Onto her favorite part- ink mixing. Albro rarely uses colors straight from the bottle. She slows down and takes her sweet time concocting and blending until the colors before her match the colors of her imagination exactly. Depending on how many colors are involved in a piece this step alone may take her 30 minutes to an hour. Finally, Albro soaks her cotton rag paper which softens it and allows for maximum absorbency. When all of this is complete, she rewards herself with a little break, stepping back to survey the scene, think of where she left off the day before and take stock of her current body of work. Then, it’s go time.
Endless possibilites, one strong voice
Tina’s prints vary in size, subject, medium, and technique. Among them: vividly colored collographs of overlapping pine boughs and other foliage, bright prints of glowing owls, quirky but classic city busses and vintage airplanes, vibrant and lively abstract pliage monoprints and a handful of encaustics. Albro is a master with color, often combining bright, almost neon, hues with softer, more vintage pastels. The contrast in every piece is stunning and mimics dramatic movements, like the shattering of a glass or the quiet stillness of a perched owl. Texture comes into play, especially in her abstracts, adding an edginess that just really works.
Prior to her career as a printmaker, Albro worked in hybridized concrete and glass mosaic. “Concrete is so hard and heavy and glass is so sharp!” When she discovered collage and printmaking, she was hooked. “Print was all I wanted to do. It is so varied and the possibilities seem endless.”
Interestingly, traces of her mosaic past still seem to come through in her recent work, especially the abstracts. Colors are fragmented and divided, resembling broken glass. They seem to expand and explode outward like sparks of a fire or rays of light. Also, Albro makes powerful use of white space in her pieces. The white spaces are often the unsung heroes, much like the cement or concrete between bits of glass in a mosaic. They help tell the whole story and add drama and richness to the brighter colors.
Albro recalls that, even as a child, she’d spend hours arranging picked flowers and pieces of nature, “I’ve always been very inspired by my environment and continue to draw a lot from that…I think I’ve been looking for the creative possibilities in everything, my whole life,” she explains.
City hustle, country ease
Dividing her studio time between city (Seattle) and country (Walla Walla) has definite benefits. When working in her space at the Pratt Fine Arts Center printmaking studio (photo above), Albro really has to focus, clean up after herself and “try not to hog the press”. There’s also a lot of “cross-pollination” that goes on and her fellow artists offer feedback and help spark new ideas. On the other hand, time is more limited and she has to be ever mindful of cleaning up her space and tools, careful to be respectful of others’ space. In her solo studio in Walla Walla (below), on the other hand, she is free to work and rework a piece until it is complete. “It’s a real luxury to be able to just spread out and take my time with an idea and fully see it through.”
Nature plays a huge role in Albro’s artwork. Her studio in Walla Walla is situated among the golden graininess of their wheat farm and many of her pieces take on the tone of this expansive place. Yellow hay bail hues coupled with vibrant blue skies, barn owls and feathered friends.
In contrast, her city-inspired pieces are more definitely more urban, but still remain lighthearted and playful. Cityscapes and colorful buses. Old fashioned airplanes. Abstract, vibrantly textured collages.
A rich inheritance
Because she has become the family photograph repository, Albro cleverly weaves in pieces of her family’s past and brings them to life in her prints. Her grandfather was a photographer and she has been fortunate to inherit his large collection of negatives from the early 1900’s. Not only have his photographs become some of the main subjects of Albro’s work, they’ve also influenced the lens through which she views the world; she is more able to recognize beauty and glory in life’s simplicities.
Beyond the studio
Outside of printmaking, Albro is an avid volunteer, a mother of three, a bookworm, a gardener (and farmer), and a very enthusiastic art collector. She is a person who lives intentionally- investing her time into things that make the world a better and more whole place. You’ll find her cooking at the homeless shelter, pitching in at the food bank, creating a beautifully hearty garden in a bustling city, taking time to cultivate wheat and connect with the land in Walla Walla. She values the impact and significance of art work (her home is filled with pieces that speak to her every time she looks at them,) and devotes herself to relationships that are nourishing and supportive.
After interacting with Tina, whether it be by phone, in person, or through viewing her artwork, you’ll feel her joy, playfulness, curiosity and sense of adventure coming through. You’ll be reminded that meeting someone who has chosen to do what they truly love is always inspiring. You’ll likely feel a sense of uplift and hope that something as simple as a resting bird or a towering haystack could contain within them so much beauty and personality. Who knows, if you hold your ear up to the piece, you might even hear the steady beat of your favorite disco tune.
We are delighted to represent Tina Garrick Albro in Montana at 1+1=1 Gallery. Every time we visit Seattle, we make sure to stop by the Columbia City Gallery, where Tina shows her work, and last year, Maureen was able to see the printmaking studio at Pratt, where Tina is lucky enough to work.
View some of TINA’S Work
Art flows through her
Carol Montgomery is a conduit. Stories, experiences, places, and events flow through her freely- spark, bloom, and burst onto the paper through press or brush, text or image. She is utterly humble, completely curious and extremely allowing. In approaching her artwork this way, each piece is unique and she often shatters standard conventions, steps back, and shrugs as if she had little to say in the matter. Almost as if to say, I don’t know, the story just wanted out, and it wanted out in this way. So, I let it out and kept working until it felt right.
Both teacher and student
Carol is a well-known teacher here in Helena and has encouraged and inspired many local artists. When she speaks about her experiences as a teacher it is evident that Carol considers herself a lifelong student and continues to learn from her students just as much as they learn from her. Because Carol remains intensely curious, she is constantly willing to be shaped by all she encounters. Whether it be vividly colored cactus flowers found in the desert or her high-school students’ fascination with comic books, Carol welcomes all considerations into her perspective and allows them to inform her and, ultimately, shape her work.
The result is work that often takes unexpected turns — perhaps the images need to unfold in a handmade book that alternates between text and image, much like a comic strip (above) or maybe the registration is slightly misaligned, giving the colors more movement which perfectly captures the flapping of wings. Carol is just as surprised as anyone when these serendipities take place. Yet she trusts the process; ever faithful to where the piece wants to go.
Fluent in Art
A couple of years ago, Carol suffered a stroke and she worked hard to regain her ability to speak and connect her thoughts with words. The artistic part of her brain, however, was unaffected and, since then, Carol relies on her artwork almost like a language all its own. Teaching became too tiresome since it requires so much language articulation, but Carol is more content than ever working in her studio for hours on end, speaking what feels like her first language. It is quiet, full of solace and provides a space of focus and retreat.
Path to professionalism
All artists somehow find their way to their craft and Carol looks back on her own path, in a very matter-of-fact way. She was drawn to art as a child and visited an art museum in Chicago at the age of 18, where she discovered the prints of Kathe Kollwitz. She knew, in that very moment, that she wanted to pursue printmaking and went on to attend classes at Scripps College, The San Francisco Art Institute, The University of Montana. Carol served as an adjunct professor at Cerro Coso Community College in Bishop, California and is a highly respected member of the California Printmakers Association. Carol’s work has been featured in various solo and group shows across the United States.
We are honored to represent Carol Montgomery in Montana at 1+1=1 Gallery. Come in to see her boldly beautiful work in person anytime, but especially in our upcoming exhibit: Hand-Plucked opening February 25, 2018. And, in September, Off the Press– Printmakers’ Showcase.
View Carol’s Work
Susan Mattson is perhaps the most considerate person I have met. She deeply considers the ways in which various pieces of the world, herself included, influence and impact each other. Through her sculptures, Susan works out unresolved issues; both interior and exterior. While sculpting and carving, she allows her mind wander freely, reminiscing and following the flow of memories, regrets, projections, relationships.
Originally from Bozeman, Montana, Susan has traveled the world, taking a solo bike tour across the country at the age of 25. Every experience she has had, every place she has been, is still very alive within her. The past is carved into her psyche in a powerful way. She is a vessel of lessons.
Susan carries out her intentions through action. She remodeled a house in Butte to rescue it from demolition. She uses the pulp from her fresh juices to bake scones, because, even pulp can be useful. She works in mental health. Every decision Susan makes is preceded by the question, “what would happen if every person on the planet did this?”
She is a steady and humble activist; her art is a demonstration of her deeply held beliefs. But, she also has a goofy side. Let’s just say she’s spent a decent amount of time on testing the limits of the face-swapping app.
Driven by curiosity, Susan researches her subjects exhaustively which translates into unparalleled originality in her pieces. For example, her current piece, Nacho Scapegoat, led her on a quest to discover how goats have taken on the burdens of humans throughout history in many, many ways. Susan never just randomly selects a subject, they all have a story behind them, they are thickly layered with meaning.
Susan is pretty much the MacGyver of art galleries. She’ll improve mopping methods, solve temperature and lighting issues with nothing but a bed sheet and a clothespin and conquer mounting dilemmas in the craftiest of ways.
Something to keep in mind when experiencing Susan’s work: every face is made separately with tiny ceramic and dental tools, then pressed onto the body of the sculpture. This requires massive focus, determination, and patience; every sculpture takes many, many hours.
So, come. Plant yourself in front of one of Susan’s sculptures. Let it speak to you. Let it lead you down new path, or remind you of another time. Open up, lean in, listen.
Here is what I know of Andrea Crossguns. She is all heart. She spends her days caring for children and managing an entire staff of teachers; she inspires them, guides them and reminds them of their gifts. She is nurtures chickens, a guinea-pig named “Cutie” and a faithful canine companion named “Joey”.
Andrea prefers to eat one fresh, heavily seasoned fried egg for breakfast with a hot cup of coffee, egg first, coffee later. She is easily moved to tears. She is a brave and brilliant musician, an intense and deliberate poet, an active member of her community. She needs to hike and deeply breathe mountain air often in order to feel most alive.
When Andreas paints, she lets her brush lead the way and surrenders her expectations of what will occur. The result is a collection of work that comes from the deep. Vivid colors that overlap and collide in unexpected ways. Pieces that continue to unfold the longer you view them. Each and every painting of Andrea’s includes a poem, hand-written, rolled and attached to the back of the piece, only to be opened and read by the owner.
Right now- there are 13 Andrea Crossguns paintings hanging in 1+1=1 Gallery. Stop in and feel their power. We’ll make you a cup of hot tea (or coffee) while you absorb.
Trudy Skari is one of those rare people you meet who naturally balances the complexities and simplicities of life. A minimalist at heart, she focuses attentively on only a few things at a time in order to truly appreciate all they have to offer.
Embracing her strong Estonian background, Trudy derives rich meaning and imagery from dreams and the landscape around her. Very early on, she learned to tend to her own needs, overcome obstacles, and use what she had at hand to thrive. It was a basic and simple upbringing. Creativity has always played a key role in how Trudy positions herself in the world.
Trudy owned her first book at the age of 5, The Lonely Doll, by Dare Wright. It sparked her fascination with relationships between humans and animals and offered a new way to tell a story. The music of Allan Sherman really developed Trudy’s humor and wit which is still very alive and evident in her sculptures.
From the moment she visited her first clay studio, Trudy was captivated by the immediacy of translating an image in her mind to a physical form in front of her eyes. From there, she fashioned a former ice-house into her own studio/bunker on a farm where art was not valued, settled in behind 18 inch thick concrete walls to carve out time to create.
A champion of resourcefulness, Trudy is known to use clay scraps that most ceramicists would discard. When sculpting, you might find her sipping cold lemonade and listening to Tango music. Trudy doesn’t like to get too hung up on details. The vision is there, it wants out, she just opens the door and allows her pieces to emerge in a natural way.
Come to the gallery and view Trudy’s incredible sculptures. They are full of texture and pizazz; just begging to be held, touched, looked in the eye. One of them may even ask to come home with you, you just never know.
For Gregg Edelen, pottery is medicine.
A retired sheriff’s deputy from Butte, Montana, Gregg has witnessed some pretty tough scenes. Gregg has used art to actively heal. He finds beauty and solace working with clay. He pursues joy; you can hear it in his chuckle and see it in his smile. From forming wet clay to tending a wood-fired kiln all night long, to driving from Butte to Helena to teach, deliver or create, Gregg takes truly embraces all his creative process has to offer.
Gregg fishes, but doesn’t so much care about catching fish. He cares about camaraderie, long-time friendships, laughter by a campfire, the sound of a fish slurping a topwater fly. He hunts but doesn’t care about the harvest. He cares about the absolute love he has for his hunting dogs, their dedication, loyalty and affection. He cares about breathing in the landscape and having the freedom to roam. Gregg is a lover of process, a person of essence. He chooses to create but really feels that, in many ways, the drive to create chose him.
Woven into Gregg’s platters, cups and vases, are elements of his passions. You’ll find subtle landscapes within the design, flies he has tied for fishing adventures, imprints of tails and fins, glaze patterns that resemble rainbow trout. Gregg surrenders his pieces, at times, to a wood-fired kiln, which requires 18-hour stretches of constant attention and re-loading of wood. It requires loyal dedication and trust between the elements and the artists. When finished, each vessel has been kissed by the heat and is one of a kind.
Gregg is a Montana native, a family man, a teacher, a photographer, a music lover, and insists that any tie-dyed t-shirt he wears be handmade. His favorite drink is a Virgin Mary, he drinks exactly one beer a month (with pizza) but never drinks coffee or eats potatoes. Ever. He loves sunsets over water, visiting forgotten towns and telling corny jokes to kids.
Come in to catch the broad scope of Gregg’s work featured in our current exhibit for just a few more days.
We love having Patty Ceglio’s ceramics at 1+1=1 Gallery. It’s about time she was our “featured artist” on the website!
Patty continues to grow and evolve with her artwork — exploring the sgraffito technique and new ceramic forms. She dives ever deeper into her work/play to integrate her love of the environment with the urge to create art with her hands. Lately she has been working on a series (what better way to dive deeper, as an artist?) on trees. Every time I see one of her tree works-in-progress, I get more excited for the show coming up in June. I interviewed her for this featured artist post (see below.)