Artist Premieres New Abstract Paintings, Unveils Hidden Objects from MMAC Permanent Collection

July 09, 2014

MISSOULA – The Montana Museum of Art & Culture at the University of Montana proudly presents “Sandra Dal Poggetto: Meditations on the Field,” a solo exhibition of new and recent large-scale works by the Helena-based artist. The exhibition opens at noon Thursday, July 17, and continues through Sept. 27 in the Meloy and Paxson galleries, located in the Performing Arts and Radio/Television Center Building.

Dal Poggetto will exhibit large-scale paintings from her ongoing “American Fork” series in addition to related works. Her abstract images incorporate elements of the western landscape – hide, feathers, wood and wire – to invite a more intimate experience of the natural world. The largest of Dal Poggetto’s paintings encompass the viewer’s field of vision almost completely.

In these works, Dal Poggetto draws on and deconstructs Euro-American pictorial language and American Indian visual traditions to create uneasy syntheses which Pulitzer Prize-winning author and critic Mark Stevens describes as “truthful reflection[s] of our culture’s complex relations to the landscape of the West.”

“As I walk the land that is Montana, something happens to my understanding of art history,” Dal Poggetto states. “The Euro-American point of view breaks down, the iconic horizon dissolves. Parts, details, surprises flood in from all directions and the circle of the horizon surrounds me.”

This is the feeling she strives to replicate in her paintings. Dal Poggetto’s pieces did not fit through the museum’s gallery doors and canvases needed to be stretched onsite.

In addition, Dal Poggetto was invited to make selections from MMAC’s vast Permanent Collection to underscore themes that resonate in her paintings. Her choices illustrate different philosophical and aesthetic understandings of the human relationship to the landscape.

“With her inspired point of view, she takes us on a ‘tour’ of the Permanent Collection that includes several objects that have never before been publicly exhibited,” said MMAC Director Barbara Koostra. “As she considers the landscape and our relationship to it, she pulls in sometimes harmonious, sometimes dissonant threads that weave together myriad points of view into a compelling tapestry.

“Exhibited together, Dal Poggetto’s paintings and provocative selections from the MMAC’s Permanent Collection challenge us to reconsider our relationship to the natural world, one that has too often been remote and unsustainable. Our hope is that this exhibition reminds us we are not separate from nature, rather we are of it like the landscape and other living beings.”

Stevens will travel to Missoula to engage Dal Poggetto in a dynamic roundtable discussion at 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25, in the Masquer Theater, followed by a public reception at 5:45 p.m. in the PAR/TV Center lobby. The event, which will include food and live music, is free and open to the public.

Dal Poggetto was born in Sonoma, Calif. She earned a master’s degree in painting and drawing from San Francisco State University and a bachelor’s degree with honors in art studio from the University of California, Davis. She has traveled and studied extensively in Italy. Solo exhibitions include the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture, Spokane, Wash.; Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings; Oregon State University, Corvallis, Ore.; Holter Museum of Art, Helena; University of California, Davis; and Dana Reich Gallery and Peter Koch Printers, both in San Francisco. She has received the Helene Wurlitzer Painting Fellowship, a Pouch Cove Foundation Residence and a Ucross Foundation Residency, and she recently was invited to Playa, an artist residency in southeastern Oregon.

MMAC’s summer gallery hours, through Aug. 24, are noon to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. Friday. MMAC’s academic-year gallery hours begin Aug. 25 and are noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. The museum is open to the public with a suggested $5 donation. For more information call 406-243-2019 or visit


Contact: Brandon Reintjes, curator of art, Montana Museum of Art & Culture, 406-243-2019,