You won't want to miss this three person exhibition featuring watercolor paintings by Michael Koski, sculpture by Willis Johnson and graphite drawings by Ken Deaver.
Opening Reception: 3-5 p.m. / Saturday, November 19 / Light refreshments / Free and open to the public.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
MICHAEL KOSKI grew up in Red Lodge, Montana where he was immersed in his Finnish and Italian background. He says he was thankful for a "rich cultural heritage which forged the foundation for my love of art, music and all the diverse people of Montana." Koski earned a degree in geology that eventually led him to a career at the Stillwater Mine Company. While working and raising a family Koski found some time to paint. After a 39-year career with Stillwater Mining Company, he retired in 2018 where he decided to refocus his energy back into his art. He says, "I’m proud of my time with SMC and their commitment to protect the environment. The work was interesting and provided me a means to live in Montana while learning more about the geology of the Beartooth Mountains from the inside out. Art stirs emotion. Whether a painting, music, book, or dance-inspiration is everywhere. That inspiration touches my soul, and I translate it into color, value, and textures composed to capture the emotion of the moment or subject. When I paint, I have an idea which turns into a design and a plan. From the first stroke of the brush, the paints take control, and the painting evolves. Water and pigment move and mix, producing magical effects that I could never have planned or foreseen. I save and incorporate what happens into the work and let the painting evolve."
Willis E. Johnson is a Red Lodge artist who loves to make things. Regarding the work in this exhibition he states, “In particular, I enjoy creating three dimensional objects. Although I do not limit myself to one form of expression, my primary medium is bronze wildlife sculpture. This show highlights my wildlife sculptures. Each sculpture created captures the beauty of bodies in space. A sculpture should be much more than flesh and bone; it should contain and exude presence. Each individual has an attitude, a demeanor, that is inherently singular, vibrant, and expressive. It is my goal to highlight and present all that each animal encompasses, to breathe life into an object made of metal is challenging and highly rewarding. I always push the limits of my abilities. Aside from decades of sculptural experience, including monumental, I have worked in a foundry, created custom jewelry, taught both youth and adult general art classes, as well as focused classes in sculpture, ceramics and art history. I continue to take classes from others in order to build a strong skill set and stay open to new ideas and ways of looking at and portraying what I am seeing. Making things is where I find true joy.”
Ken Deaver was born and raised in Palo Alto California. His parents loved the high Sierra’s which is why they spent most of their time at cabins that they had built. Trout fishing, skiing, running through the woods with his dog, or just staring up into those tall magnificent sugar pines with their huge cones, was what Deaver loved the most. Deaver said, “To smell the dirt and the pine resin on a hot afternoon next to a small mountain stream was home to me, and I didn’t want to be anywhere else. But life has a way of diverting our walk, a different path would lead me away from those beloved mountains.” Enlisting in the Navy, Deaver went off to Vietnam. While overseas, he found and married his true love. After the service, Deaver went back to school where he majored in Fine-Arts. However, he decided not to go into an art career but use his love of nature and creativity to develop a career in horticulture. The family settled in the Seattle area where he and his wife owned a successful landscape design business for 36 years. The work was good, but he craved the mountains. Eventually Deaver and his wife to move to Billings where their daughter, son-in-law, and grand-kids live. Ken Deaver works mainly in graphite, watercolor, and acrylic.