Art attack: First Friday July picks

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I’ve always been a sucker for art challenges. Back in my creative writing days at the University of Montana we had to do exercises in our workshops like, for instance, write a poem made up only of questions. Or, write a short story in the style of Charles Bukowski. Always entertaining.
For the big Icons of the West show at the Dana Gallery, 75 artists were given this assignment: Create your own interpretation of the West. As you might imagine, there are an abundance of horses, wide landscapes, American Indian themes and old west buildings. But how those artists execute those themes is something to behold. Have you seen Andy Cline’s extremely realistic take on interstate culture? They’re like photographs, and they're raw in that large semi-truck shadows fall across asphalt with the same prominence as clouds across the big blue sky.

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The Dana Gallery has a solid gold reputation for many reasons. It’s hosted important shows like the Oil Painters of America National exhibits of 2006 and 2008. This summertime exhibition is another piece of evidence that we’ve got a cool gallery that holds its own on the national art scene.
The Icons of the West exhibit reception kicks off at the Dana Gallery today, Friday, July 1, from 5 to 8 PM.

In a more secretive part of town, you’ll find another intriguing First Friday exhibit that showcases a special group of artists: The Montana Bricolage Artists. The group consists of artists from the Missoula and Bitterroot valleys, with a show at Montana Art and Framing called The Trunk Show.

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Besides being one of my favorite words to say, “bricolage” carries with it a sort of mysterious, almost haphazard sounding way of design. It’s like patchwork in that you take diverse pieces from here or there, and combine them to make one piece of work. At this gallery show, narrow pieces of colorful fiber art hang from the ceiling. It’s not like walking through other galleries where everything is nicely framed on the wall. The Trunk Show requires you to meander through the work like it's a forest. It’s a stunning show. You’ll have to wander off the downtown path a little—but you can do that for a little bricolage adventure, can’t you?
The Trunk Show exhibit reception kicks off tonight, Friday, July 1, from 5 PM to 9 PM at Montana Art and Framing at 709 Ronan St. in Missoula.

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