Montana: Prairies to Peaks
2019 Elizabeth Rubendall Artist in Residence Erin Jones Graf
Exhibition: March 1–June 29, 2019
Erin Jones Graf graduated from Montana State University in 2006 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Printmaking and a separate degree in K-12 Art Education. While she is drawn to the manual labor of printmaking and the “chemistry” behind the process, her love has always been painting. The artist’s native Montana is the subject of her exhibition as the 2019 Elizabeth Rubendall Artist in Residence. She states: “I grew up on the edge of the great plains of Montana, on land that nourished four generations of my family before me…. I paint my home, and my home is expansive. From prairies to peaks, I move along the hay fields and hills, painting the grandeur that is Montana.”
Jones Graf is the inaugural artist for the Elizabeth Rubendall Artist-in-Residence Studio and Education Lab donated by Fred and Julie Hoppe, which opened spring 2019.
Erin Jones Graf, Between the Land and What’s Beyond, 2018, oil, courtesy of the artist
2018 Rubendall Artist in Residence: Henry Payer
Exhibition: March 2– June 30, 2018
Henry Payer is a Ho-Chunk multidisciplinary artist who works primarily with collage and mixed media. Payer received a BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM in 2008. He went on to study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and obtained a MFA in 2013. Payer has exhibited his work at locations such as the Great Plains Art Museum in Lincoln, NE; the Dahl Art Center in Rapid City, SD; All My Relations Gallery in Minneapolis, MN; Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art in Kansas City, MO; and Janus Galleries located in Madison, WI. Payer’s work has also been exhibited at the University of Venice Ca’ Voscari, Palazzo Cosulich and at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, Italy. Payer has spent time as an instructor at the Oscar Howe Summer Art Institute in the summer of 2015 at the University of South Dakota located in Vermillion, SD, and has also taught Native American Art History at the Little Priest Tribal College in Winnebago, NE. Payer has been recognized and awarded honors included having artworks chosen as Best of Show at the annual Northern Plains Indian Art Market in 2014 and 2011, Best of Division: Two Dimensional, 2016 4th Annual Native POP: People of the Plains and was awarded a Chancellor’s Fellowship while attending University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Payer’s narrative compositions are bold and contemporary. His works reference the altered landscape through Indigenous cartographic methods of “picture-writing” with traditional aspects of spatial representation and symbolism combined with European modernist models of cubism, spatial distortion and collage. Each work offers a visual narrative of symbols and appropriated voices from American consumer society that reconfigures history, the landscape or the identity of a portrait. Henry represents the work of a new generation of artists seeking to expand the range and voice of their visual and cultural representation, while attending to forms of tradition.
K(no)w Exit, 2015
mixed media on canvas
(Included in Contemporary Indigeneity: Spiritual Borderlands 2016)
2017: Lari R. Gibbons
Rising (March 3 - June 24)
An interest in habitat loss and the migration of invasive species led Gibbons to use data sets from research centers as the basis for new patterns in her abstract compositions that connect the exhibition with topics addressed in the Center for Great Plains Studies 2017 symposium, “Flat Places, Deep Identities: Mapping Nebraska and the Great Plains.” Gibbons creates a unique form of “deep mapping” by transforming scientific data into abstracted visual representations. Her interpretations of graphs and charts point to larger patterns and the momentum of change. Gibbons is compelled by evidence of climate change and the cascade of effects on the environment, including rising sea levels, rising temperatures–and perhaps most importantly–the probability of accelerated rates of change over time. Gibbons uses the language of print inform our ideas about the environment and our relationship to the natural world.
About the Artist
Lari Radabaugh Gibbons is a professor at the University of North Texas, where she teaches printmaking and directs the Print Research Institute of North Texas (P.R.I.N.T Press). She earned an MFA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a BA from Grinnell College.
Gibbons professional and studio work encompasses independent and collaborative projects exploring ideas from ecology, environmental philosophy and natural history. She has received numerous grants and awards and her work has been collected and exhibited nationally and internationally.
2016: B.C. Gilbert
Flat Land, Flat Water (July 12 - Oct. 29)Residency dates: Aug. 2-6 & Oct. 11-15, 2016
B.C. Gilbert's work is influenced by experiences of growing up on the High Plains of Texas where ranching is prominent. His work brings into question the iconography of West Texas incorporating cowboys and Indians alongside landscape markers such as water towers. In multi-media constructions that merge unconventional materials such as tooled leather, metal siding, and found objects with painting, Gilbert depicts the West in a manner reminiscent of Pop artists. Most recently, Gilbert began making prints combining Western icons with text. Gilbert’s sculptural paintings and prints present a unique perspective of the contemporary American West.
See a video of Gilbert's student workshop
Flat Land, Flat Water, 2015
2015: Gwen Westerman
We Are Star People: The Art and Poetry of Gwen Westerman (Sept. 1 - Jan. 30)Residency: Sept. 1-5 and Nov. 11-14, 2015
Recent work by Gwen Westerman, 2014 Contemporary Indigeneity Exhibition Prize winner, features unique quilts and textiles alongside poetry inspired by personal connections to her Dakota family history. Dr. Westerman is a professor of English at Minnesota State University, Mankato. She co-authored MniSota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota, with Bruce White, which won a Minnesota Book Award and has published a collection of poetry written in Dakota and English entitled Follow the Blackbirds.
Westerman’s unique star quilt was inspired by personal connections to her Dakota family history. The warm colors are indicative of the sunsets she viewed while traveling from her home in Mankato, Minnesota, to Lincoln for her residency in 2015.
Read all about and see photos from Westerman's exhibition
Plains Sunset, 2015
commercial cotton with beaded embellishment
2014: Todd A. WilliamsResidency: April 22-27, 2014
Williams created a multi-year project, “Painting the Legacy of Nebraska,”depicting significant historical sites and events in all of Nebraska’s 93 counties in honor of the 150th year of statehood in 2017. For more information on the project and to see the painting 2015 calendar showcasing his initial paintings including Platte River, Hall County, Nebraska, 2014 the work William’s painted as part of his residency go to Nebraska150.org.
Platte River, Hall County¸ Nebraska, 2015
oil on panel
Relative Position, 2013
felt, beads, horse hair
Top of the Morning, 2012
acrylic on canvas
Prairie Chicken Dance, 2011
2010: Wendy Hall
Calf and Resting Cow, 2010
oil on canvas
2009: Gail Sundell
Women of the Plains, 2009
2008: Michael Albrechtsen
Nebraska Reverence, 2008
oil on canvas
2007: Martha and Delmar Pettigrew
I'm Outta Here, 2007
2006: Andrew Peters
A Good Solid Century Farm, 2006
oil on canvas