Show Preview | Icons of the West

Missoula, MT
Dana Gallery, May 16-July 5

Kevin Red Star, Bird Man, mixed media, 22 x 30.

Kevin Red Star, Bird Man, mixed media, 22 x 30.

This story was featured in the May 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art May 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!

In 2010, gallery owner Dudley Dana saw a painting depicting a bison that was titled WESTERN ICON. Dana had already been thinking about establishing an 
exhibition in Missoula to bring together leading artists from across the country. But the title of the bison painting inspir-ed a theme for the show and cemented the idea in his mind. The following year, Dana’s dream became a reality, and the first Icons of the West show debuted at Dana Gallery. “I realized that, yes, the bison, the grizzly, the horse, and of course, Native Americans and cowboys were icons,” Dana says. “But so, too, are oil wells, coal mines, and outhouses. What excited me was that the interpretation of what, exactly, constitutes an icon of the West is limited only by the creativity and imagination of the individual artist.”

This year’s Icons of the West show opens with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. on May 16. More than 60 artists have works on view, including guest artists as well 
as gallery artists like Robert Moore, Thom Ross, Robert Schlegel, and Kevin Red Star. The show’s mission is to represent a broad interpretation of what is considered “western” art. The viewer can expect to see works by painters, sculptors, and installation and video artists.

A jury consisting of an art professor, a museum curator, and an artist, among others, separates the show from the gallery, Dana says. This fits with Dana’s long-term goal of creating a show that is entirely independent of the gallery but that continues to bring top artists to Missoula. The diverse jury also allows for the inclusion of many points of view on what constitutes art. “There remains an unfortunate gap between the academic/intellectual view of what constitutes true art and the more traditional, dare I say commercial, view of what constitutes art,” Dana says.

For participating artists the show offers cash prizes totaling $7,500 this year. And there are a number of awards categories such as Best of Show, Best Traditional Western Painting, Best Contemporary Western Painting, Best Figurative, and Best Critter, to name a few. 
—Bonnie Gangelhoff

contact information

Featured in the May 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art May 2014 print issue or digital download Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!

Subscribe to Southwest Art magazine
Learn how to paint & how to draw with downloads, books, videos & more from North Light Shop
Sign up for your Southwest Art email newsletter & download a FREE ebook