The Charles M. Bair Family Museum in Martinsdale, Montana is pleased to present the work on Billings-based artist Gordon McConnell. The show opened on Friday, July 20th 2012 and was on display throughout the summer.
McConnell draws inspiration and images for his paintings from classic western films such as Red River, Stagecoach, The Westerner, My Darling Clementine, Rio Grande and many others. Emblematic of vitality, fearlessness, and the austere self-reliance of the western matinee hero, McConnell’s painting are often darkly nostalgic, haunted by the legacy of popular western imagery and the savage, sometimes tragic aspects of human nature and history portrayed in it.
“We are honored to feature Gordon McConnell Paintings as the third exhibit in the new Bair Family Gallery. The artist is known throughout Montana and the west for both his paintings and his curatorial work during his tenure as Senior Curator at the Yellowstone Art Museum where he organized several landmark exhibitions. His rich, painterly imagery evokes the west of John Ford and black and white western films. In a McConnell painting a stagecoach, a scouting party, a woman at the helm of a fast-moving wagon, become allegories for a dramatic and vital West. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Mark Stevens wrote in his essay for McConnell’s 2008 Ucross Foundation Art Gallery exhibit: ‘(McConnell) brings to his work a rare fullness of mind, an unusual ability to understand the West in the round. He understands revisionist history, yet loves the grand old themes; he’s adept at postmodern irony, yet does not condescend to the cowboy.'”