Abstracting weather in Montana

A whirlwind field trip through western Montana this past week. Visited friends, galleries and museums.  Apparent Continent / Original Weather was on exhibit at the Paris-Gibson Square Museum in Great Falls, Montana.

This exhibit was the collaboration Oregon artist Robert Tomlinson, whose drawings were accompanied by poetry written by Standard Schaefer, who also lives in Oregon. The artists met as members of 13 Hats, a portland-based collective of artists and writers dedicated to the creative dialogue of interdisciplinary work.

From the artist statement, I learned the oceanographer Matthew Fontain Maury first documented wind and wave patterns of the oceans in the 1850s. His series of hand-drawn maps, which significantly altered the direction of marine travel, inspired “The Continents,” Tomlinson’s recent mixed-media drawings in oil stick, pastel, chalk, pencil and acrylic on paper for over 30 years. The artist invited Schaefer to create a literary text that responded to the artist’s work, including an explanation of Maury’s discoveries.  A chapbook is expected soon.

An adjoining gallery exhibited “Original Weather,” additional mixed-media drawing by Tomlinson from his “Great Basin Series.” This series was created while the artist was in Montana for an artist residency. In response to each piece, one of eight Oregon poets wrote a poet, which were displayed along with the artwork.

The pairing of artwork and poetry in this way intrigues me. I’d like to figure a way rev up on the kind of energy that results for this sort of creative dialoging.  I’m adding that to my list of goals for 2014.