Thursday, July 2, 2020
Free Tour Goes ‘Behind the Sagebrush Curtain’
Idaho artist Sara Joyce painted this “untitled” work in oil on canvas board.
Thursday, November 21, 2019


See a modernist take on the American West when the Sun Valley Center for the Arts hosts the first of three free evening tours of its new visual arts exhibition tonight.

Kristin Poole and Courtney Gilbert will take people “Behind the Sagebrush Curtain: Women Modernists in Montana and Idaho,” at 5:30 p.m. tonight—Thursday, Nov. 21. Did we mention there’ll be wine to augment the journey?

The exhibition features prints, drawings, paintings and ceramics by seven 20th Century artists from Idaho and Montana who have married the landscapes of the American West with techniques that reflect international modernism.

Montana Artist Helen McAuslan painted “Landscape, Montana” in oil on canvas. Courtesy: Helen C. McAuslan Collection-Museum of the Rockies fine Arts Collection.

The exhibition takes its title from an interview with Donna Forbes, the executive director of the Yellowstone Art Museum. The interview was posted on the website of the Tippet Rise Art Center in Fishtail, Mont. In it, Forbes described how her Montana colleagues felt cut off from the major centers of the art world during the 1950s and 1960s.

“She remembered a friend commenting that in Montana artists were stuck ‘behind the sagebrush curtain,’ ” recounted Gilbert. “But, as the exhibition illustrates, artists in the West, despite their relative isolation, were actively working with modernist ideas. This exhibition focuses on women modernists whose work has been less widely exhibited than that of their male counterparts—women who were, in essence, working behind a second curtain.”

The exhibition features the work of Idaho artist Sara Joyce and Montana artists Gennie DeWeese, Edith Freeman, Isabelle Johnson, Helen McAuslan, Frances Senska and Jessie Wilber.

Can’t make tonight’s tour? The Center will offer additional tours on Dec. 12, 2019, and Jan. 9, 2020. The exhibition will also be open during Gallery Walks from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29, and 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 27.

Or, just pop in during regular daytime hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.


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