Upcoming Exhibits

This Earth: Notes and Observations by Montello Foundation Artists

October 16 - December 23, 2021

The Montello Foundation

The deserts of Nevada and Utah have been potent landscapes for artists to render since first traversing these regions. Drawn to vast vistas, unique flora and fauna, and the subtle changes in geographic proportions and colors, there are extensive interpretations of nature and its meaning.

The Montello Foundation, founded by Stefan Hagen, has a direct mission statement: it is a “foundation dedicated to support artists who foster our understanding of nature, its fragility and our need to protect it.” Each year, international artists apply to the foundation, whose work is centered around a residency program. This solitary retreat is where artists can experience the vastness of the region from a base camp, or small building that provides a living space and a studio space. The residency affords a unique landscape for inspiration and creation, a place that provides a shield from distractions in the solitude of the desert.

Annual residencies have taken place since summer 2015, with an ever-expanding roster of artists who find their work aligns with the foundation’s mission. This Earth: Notes and Observations by Montello Foundation Artists brings together, for the first time, work by 37 artists who present a broad understanding of experiences with nature.

Curated by Hagen and Hikmet Sidney Loe, art historian and author of The Spiral Jetty Encyclo, one goal is to engage the exhibit’s audience in the processes each artist undertakes and the transformations they wish to impart through their work. Thus, the exhibit is organized thematically rather than by artist, technique, or materials:

  • Observing Nature is focused on the great tradition of artists as observers and note takers. While some meticulously record the sights and sounds experienced in nature, others abstract these observations, while others are focused on transcendental experiences.
  • In Dialog with Nature presents a number of artists working with natural elements and materials, transforming them with their practice. Others recreate aspects of the environment, allowing the audience to witness a dialog between artist and nature.
  • Human Interactions with Nature finds artists focused on the effect humans have on the natural world. Some artists display well-meaning and caring interactions, while others show the devastating outcomes humans have on nature.
  • Preserving Nature completes the exhibit. While all exhibiting artists engage their audience to understand nature and its fragility, some are very direct and clear with their message: we need to protect nature. Their work includes performative actions and activism; active audience participation is often central to their work.

Through the Montello Foundation’s modest shelter and studio in eastern Nevada, artists explore, then return to the foundation to realize their unique view of the world. Afforded through a singular retreat in the desert, each artists’ desire to share their insights with an audience is achieved through residency, and for some, through This Earth.