Two area artists on exhibit at the Clack MuseumMuseum News
August 9, 2002
Two area artists on exhibit at the Clack Museum
Michael Ley and Cheri Burke are both going to be featured Aug. 14-25 at the Clack Museum in the Heritage Center.
The reception for both is Aug. 13 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the museum.
Ley lives with his family in the Bear Paw Mountains. His re-creation of homestead era buildings is a result of many years of research on and fascination with the Homestead Era (1909-1925) in northern Montana.
The material for Ley's buildings is collected from the actual weathered remains of original farm and ranch structures. These replicas depict the simple and rugged beauty of early architecture in rural Montana.
Ley has worked in the field of carpentry and construction, off and on for more than 30 years. Some of his full-size buildings can be seen on Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation, where he designed and built a beautiful log structure for the Rocky Boy Catholic Church in 1980. He also directed the construction of the Lutheran Church at Rocky Boy in 1998, and last summer he constructed a log building at the new Stone Child College campus.
One of Ley's favorite pastimes is driving the farm and ranch country with his family and looking for old structures to re-create. During the school year, Ley works for Montana State University-Northern as an academic counselor, with offices at MSU-Northern and Stone Child College. In the summer months he works as a self-employed carpenter.
Burke was born and raised in southwestern Montana. One of six children, she and her siblings have fond memories of growing up on a ranch with cattle drives, calving season and branding parties.
After graduating from high school, she married and started a family. Since then, she has had many jobs. Besides being a mom, she does various jobs from cooking and sewing to fish farming and waiting tables to her present occupations trainman for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and health care for a group home in Big Sandy.
Burke and her children moved to Big Sandy several years ago. They have since made their home "nestled in the shadow of the Bear Paw Mountains."
Burke is a self-taught artist. Ever since she can remember, she has wanted to record the drama in everyday life. She is fascinated with light and texture how it can capture an emotion, the glow that happens when sunlight touches a child's cheek, and the complexity of the sparkle in an eye.