An eclectic, contemporary art gallery in the heart of Bozeman, Montana
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Artist Bios: Photography & Reproductions
Annie was born and raised in Montana, growing up on her family’s ranch in the Smith River Valley, near White Sulphur Springs. Her work is about capturing the wide open spaces and forgotten places that exist in the rural areas in Montana and the West. She loves all things old and enjoys photographing relics of the American West such as grain elevators, barns, and farmhouses. The sky also holds a particular fascination for her, and her photography often incorporates unique cloud formations and stormy skies. Annie attended the Colorado Institute of Art in Denver, and has many years of design and art experience. She also has a background in historic preservation and studies the architecture of rural communities. Annie currently lives in Billings, Montana, working out of her home studio.
Artist Statement: I have always felt a need to draw, to make things, and pick up a paintbrush. I like to consider the form of things, it's overall shape and outline. I like bright colors and things that make your home feel alive. Color is a great way to bring life to a room. I believe you should surround yourself with great things that make you feel good.
No single event led me down the road to focusing so much of my time and effort on attempting to document our native trout species in their natural environment. I could say I got the idea while observing a school of hundreds of brook trout hovering over an aquamarine seep amongst the lava rocks of the Upper Deschutes. Or maybe it came to me while scouting waterfalls deep in the Wilderness of the Purcells and seeing fifteen pound bull trout scurry off their gravel bar redds. But in reality, it has been a lifelong connection with the natural world which I have fostered through activities as diverse as commercial fishing in Alaska to steep creeking in Mexico. There is no place I would rather be than out somewhere feeling the sting of the elements and fine tuning my judgement amongst powers much greater than myself. These photos are my way of sharing the stunning circle of life that all of us are part of.
Flexibility is the key while in the field. During summer months, I don a drysuit to shoot riffles stacked with trout lazily sipping mayflies. In smaller water and during the swing seasons, I use a remote control and place the camera in likely spots. With the advent of digital cameras, this type of photography became possible. Using a full frame Digital SLR with large capacity cards allows me to take as many as ten thousand high resolution shots in one day. At this sort of pace I will get a keeper one out of every ten days. My goal is not a photo documenting something. It is to create an image that stands as a piece of fine art as well as doing the location and species justice. Marrying the perfection of a red bellied Westslope Cutthroat to the kaleidoscope glacial scree bottom of a gin clear Glacier Park creek takes all the pieces to fall into place. Only when all the stars align do these places give up that image that exists in my mind.
The wilderness has been more than a place for me to find a challenge, it is a place to reconnect with a natural world that modern life too often pulls us away from. While it seems like just yesterday that I was standing on a street corner selling three dollar greeting cards from my first point and shoot, in reality it has been a long journey that I would never trade for anything. It has only been through the support of all around me that I have traveled through this difficult learning curve and continue to be able to pursue my passions. I hope you enjoy these moments I have captured and share them with your friends.
Since the late 1960’s my primary recreational interests have been outdoor activities. Mountaineering, back packing and white water rafting trips have allowed me to experience and develop an appreciation for the natural world. I started taking photographs as a way to document and record the beauty of the places I visited. In the mid 1990’s photography started becoming more important to me. Now my goal with photography is to enjoy the experience of being in the natural world and try to capture the essence of special places and creatures on film. I also enjoy creating abstract, impressionist, or unusual images by using techniques such as multiple exposure, reflections, and taking pictures of images in water drops.Photography is my passion. I love the excitement of seeing a grand landscape when the light is just right, or observing wildlife, and especially in looking for the small interesting details of nature up close. When the lighting is mediocre, and the wildlife are nowhere to be seen, I can spend hours taking pictures of flowers, insects, images in dew drops, or interesting patterns. After spending most of my life in the Seattle area, I retired In December 2000 and moved to the Methow Valley in North Central Washington, where I live with my wife, Mary Ann. I now spend most of my time pursuing photography and enjoying the outdoor recreational activities that this area has to offer. These photographs were taken as they actually occurred and were not digitally created.
Claire Rose Kleese is a Montana born artist/illustrator who grew up in the beautiful Bitterroot valley. Having lived in Wisconsin, Arizona, Oregon and after college travelled the world, she returned home to Montana in 2012 and now lives in Bozeman where she works as an independent artist and designer. For years she has been creating original prints, commissioned artwork for private residential and commercial collections, public artworks for the State of Montana, business logo design, album artwork, custom invitations, and event posters. Her style of artwork involves intricate freehand pieces created with india and prism ink on watercolor paper. Time spent in the outdoors and a passion for music are influential elements displayed throughout her work. Reminiscent of Japanese wood block with Scandinavian influences, her unique intense detailed ink sketches are focused on the environment. “To me , detail is where beauty resides. I try to convey the message to slow down and enjoy the small intricate elements . Each line serves a purpose to the greater image. To me this is a dialogue of the environment for which we live. Living, exploring and traveling to beautiful spaces provide constant inspiration that I hope to share in my artworks.” When not creating artwork, Claire enjoys writing/playing folk music in town, backcountry skiing, climbing, running the trails, and fly fishing the lovely rivers
Like for many photographers, my fascination with photography began at an early age.
For me it was at 16 when I took my first photography class in high school. I was always adventurous and with my first camera, a Pentax Spotmatic, I began exploring the local mountains of Washington State. At around this time, I also began spending my summers working with my father on his fishing boat in Alaska . . . more big adventure. I went on to spend 20 seasons in Alaska fishing for salmon and herring.
After receiving a degree in Commercial and Portrait Photography in the early 80s, I made my first overseas journey, a 3.5 month trip from the top of Norway to the bottom of Greece. I was hooked. Photography and travel are so interrelated to me now that I can’t imagine doing one without the other. My wife Magrit and I now spend 2 to 3 months each year on the road, photographing and leading photography travel tours/workshops.
With the advent of digital capture and digital post-processing techniques, I am more excited than ever about the craft of photography. We are able to capture incredible detail and tonal range with the new cameras and software. It is truly amazing.
The novelist Isabel Allende writes beautifully about the photographic process in her book Portrait in Sepia.
“If you observe an ordinary object or body very closely, it is transformed into something sacred. The camera can reveal secrets that the naked eye or mind cannot capture; everything disappears except the thing that is the focus of the picture. The photograph is an exercise in observation, and the result is always a stroke of luck. The camera is a simple apparatus, even the most inept person can use it. The challenge lies in creating with it that combination of truth and beauty called art. The quest is above all, spiritual.”
Magrit and I live in Edmonds, a delightful little town on the Puget Sound, just north of Seattle.
James Philip Weikert is an oil painter and architectural designer living and working in Bozeman, Montana. He was born in Florida in 1977, but he and his family soon moved to a small town in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. This rural environment allowed him the opportunity to spend countless hours exploring the surrounding forests, lakes, and rivers. James attended Norwich University in central Vermont, where he earned a Bachelor of Architecture and Minor in Art. It was while at Norwich University that James first developed an interest in oil painting. Drawing on his background in architecture and love of the outdoors, he created a painting style that blended elements taken from both the built and natural environment. Most of his early work is a reflection of the New England landscapes he grew up in. After spending several years living near the New Hampshire seacoast, James moved to Montana in the fall of 2003. His work was immediately influenced by the dramatic landscapes of the northern Rocky Mountains. This new inspiration compelled James to focus on improving and progressing his technique in the hopes of becoming a full-time artist. He recently completed the Montana Artrepreneur Program (MAP) to gain a better understanding of how to grow a sustainable art business. In addition to a full time job in architecture, James currently maintains a studio space at The Foundry, a cooperative studio and gallery space in Bozeman, Montana. His work can be found in a growing number of galleries and shops throughout Montana and the western states.
Statement: My connection with the natural world began in the rural environment of my youth in northern New Hampshire. Now in the Rocky Mountains, my work continues to be inspired by exploring and experiencing both the built and natural world in which I interact with. During my creative process I transform memories of my explorations from snapshots of static landscapes into living, moving compositions. A background in architecture helps give me a unique perspective of the forms, colors, and patterns present within the places I visit. I incorporate these elements into my paintings to create bold interpretations of familiar landscapes.