“Insight” Exhibit at the Holter Museum

A Conversation with Holter Museum’s Associate Curator & Collections Manager Rosemary Howell


Rosemary Howell, Associate Curator and Collections Manager at the Holter, agreed to answer some questions about a current exhibit: Insight. According the the Holter Museum of Art’s website, the Insight exhibit focuses on “the internal human landscape.” Featuring work from a dozen artists, the artwork represents each artist’s perspective on what the internal human landscape means, or looks like, to them. 

Artists include Mary Jo Bole, Lars Calmar, Jennifer Ling Datchuk, Christine Golden, Jennifer Holt, Doug Jeck, Ryan W Kelly, Lauren Mayer, Ryan Matthew Mitchell,  Keith Simpson, Kim Tucker and Christina West.

The exhibit opened in early August and closes next week, on September 27.  

Why did you choose this artist for your museum?

We chose to bring in artist, Christine Golden, as a guest curator for this exhibit. She is a well-known and very prolific ceramic artist living in Tucson Arizona, with ties to the Archie Bray Foundation. Her work and collaborative skills are excellent so we knew that she would fit the role of guest curator perfectly. Each artist in this exhibit was tasked with formulating and creating their own idea of what it means to be human – internally and externally. Each artist and piece was carefully selected by Christine. Her fragmented figures have a signature style although the execution is varied. I would describe them as dreamlike, surreal and timeless.

The entire grouping of work does not have an obvious thread to connect it, so it’s up to the community to contemplate why these works were selected to represent a similar idea.”

— Rosemary Howell

How do you think this artist has affected the Helena community?

One of Helena’s most beloved art forms is the ceramic arts. The community that is surrounded and built by working with clay is hard to compete with. The “usual” ceramic objects you see around town however tend to be pottery based. This exhibit blends the technical skill and conceptual ideology seamlessly which has an impact on the Helena community through engaging viewers with ideas that may have never thought of. Each piece has its own distinct story and reasoning, so people can really take the time to sort through the meaning and compare what they learn with their thought upon the initial view. The entire grouping of work does not have an obvious thread to connect it, so it’s up to the community to contemplate why these works were selected to represent a similar idea.

What is your process of using an artist’s work for an exhibit?

The exhibits tend to start with an idea. The idea is talked through and developed over some time, then an artist or group of artists are selected who we believe can initiate that idea effectively.  As the idea develops further, we work with the artist/s to figure out the details. When the work arrives we figure out the best way to layout the space in order to communicate the concept most effectively.

Are your exhibits for every age range?

Exhibits vary greatly in many ways – age included. At the Holter we tend to select exhibits that have a specific educational component and can be used for any age group. However, some ideas don’t resonate with all ages. We do have 3 main galleries, so there tends to be something for everyone here, anytime.

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