One of my favorite parts of being involved in the clay and art community is meeting people from all over the country and world, thanks to the Internet. After moving to Seattle from the East Coast in 2006, I’ve been able to explore parts of the country that I frankly had never thought about. I’ve learned that Montana is a hotbed of ceramic artists. I have taken workshops from a range of Montana artists, and on whole have found them to be as nice as nice can be. My first trip to Montana was in early September of 2019 after my youngest child went back East for college. I learned of a free weekend workshop at Red Lodge Clay Center in Red Lodge, MT and decided to go. My husband was eager to join me as neither of us had been to Montana. We flew into Billings and drove to Red Lodge. Beth Lo and Kensuke Yamada, two artists whose work I had followed for many years, were the instructors. The two days in tiny Red Lodge were fun-filled and educational. It was all great until it started to snow and we ended up getting stuck due to two cancelled flights and airport closures, but that’s Montana.
Beth Lo lives in Missoula and Radius Gallery shows her work quite often. I came across Radius Gallery while looking for Beth’s work. I’ve texted and messaged with co-owner Lisa Simon for years now. Lisa is super bright, and understands her customers’ tastes and at times has told me about artists whom I really need to know. I like her a lot. Friday night, January 24th is the grand opening of the new Radius Gallery art space. They have moved around the corner into a glorious new building which will allow them to host more shows, and have them stay on view longer.
Friday night opens with an exhibition entitled “The Creative Act: Works by Rudy Autio” which features paintings, drawings and ceramics by the beloved Missoulan artist. Autio died in 2007 at the age of 80, and his iconic work is immediately recognizable to those who know of him. Lisa and her partner Jason Neal worked with his family to select work for the opening exhibition. Many of the pieces on display have never been seen before.
The Radius Gallery opening will also showcase work by nationally known Missoula artists Beth Lo, Adrian Arleo, Shalene Valenzuela, Julia Galloway, Trey Hill and Bozemanite Josh DeWeese along with other contemporary painters and sculptors.