By Norton Pease/Professor of Art and Graphic Design/Montana State University-Northern
The current exhibition at the Heritage Center of Matt Campbell's artwork is almost at a close. Saturday will be the last day to view the artwork of one of Havre's finest artisans.
The majority of the work showcases Camp-bell's sculptural repertoire, but also included are works dealing in 2-D mediums. There are only a few of these works, but their inclusion to the show is nothing less than a tease. They give us a glimpse to the sheer scope of this artist's talents.
I had first seen a few of Matt's fish sculptures before this show, and had no idea what I was walking into when I entered the gallery space. I have to admit that I was concerned, at first, that his subject matter might be too limited. I am truly glad to have been wrong with my preconception of his art.
Campbell's fish become an element of his "speech." They are a signifier to his fascination with the Montana landscape and his native roots. And this is how I see Matt's work, a sort of mythical speech. For me, his art becomes a kind of writing as soon as the forms take meaning: Like writing, they call for a lexis. The meanings behind these works stem from their cohesive nature in nature - fish, buffalo, native dancers, birds, tipi, salvaged auto metal. They all have a system of connections that relate directly to the artist and his surroundings, and resonate in this body of art.
If you haven't seen this show, don't miss out. Come support your local artists, and your Heritage Center. The next exhibition features Sheri Moss.
The wine-and-cheese opening is 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday.