Michael Sample, Billings Cliff with Geese, date unknown, photograph
Two Uplifting Spring Exhibitions Open at the YAM on March 24th, 2016
The Yellowstone Art Museum announces the opening of two uplifting spring exhibitions: Harold Schlotzhauer: The Shape of Motion; and The Falcon’s Eye: Nature Photography by Michael Sample. The former exhibition is the third in the YAM’s series of Montana Masters exhibitions, which focus on the work of a diverse selection of mature artists who have contributed significantly to Montana’s respected artistic reputation and traditions. The YAM is pleased to continue the series with the presentation of work by one of Montana’s most prolific and distinctive painters. With decades of experience behind him, Schlotzhauer continues to explore the intersection between the observable and the imagined, creating a vivid visual language that soars beyond the edges of the picture plane. His brand of Modernism is bold and playful, but dazzlingly serious in its intent to create engaging images that make the intangible real. Shapes, lines, and sweeping color dance together in choreographed movement to elicit a personal response from the viewer. Schlotzhauer’s visual language is inspired by myriad sources, including traditional Asian arts, graffiti, children’s toys, and the rhythms of nature.
The exhibition surveys 50 years’ worth of Schlotzhauer’s art exploration, beginning with his art student days in California, where he graduated with a Master of Fine Arts degree with high distinction in 1966 from California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, through his retirement from Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana, after teaching there for 28 of his 41 years of teaching in higher education. He was subsequently appointed Professor Emeritus by the University. Since his retirement in 2008, Schlotzhauer has continued painting at his longtime Bozeman studio, which overlooks his home in the Gallatin Valley. This bold exhibition comprises colorful paintings, sculptures, kites, and various embellished skateboards, snowboards, balanceboards, and surfboards.
Complementing the abstract works of Schlotzhauer, The Falcon’s Eye is a long-deserved exhibition of photographs by publisher, philanthropist, and family man, Michael S. Sample, who was known widely for his extraordinarily sensitive nature photographs. Sample’s strong legacy of images is a testament to his adoration of the West. Though the YAM’s exhibition offers up but a miniscule fraction of Sample’s photographic record, visitors who knew Michael’s work best will find favorites that remind them of those published in his annual Montana calendar or other publications or, as he would have hoped, their own adventures in nature.
Through his photography, Sample captured the essence of Western wildlife and geography while revealing his own adventurous yet quiet nature. The subjects of his work range from the sublime view of a single wildflower covered in dew to an epic storm over the Rocky Mountains. In retrospect, this seems an apt analogy for the artist’s wide-ranging life’s work.
Admission to the museum is free to members. Members and the public alike are invited to celebrate these family friendly exhibitions at the exhibitions’ opening reception on Thursday, March 24th, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. There is a modest admission fee for non-members. The Shape of Motion remains on view through July 3rd, while The Falcon’s Eye continues through August 21st. Visit the museum’s website, artmuseum.org, to learn more about these and the museum’s other exhibitions and programs.