To judge from the talks at the opening of a current group exhibit, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a landscape artist working in Montana must deal in some way with the huge volume of imagery and the stereotypical impressions people have of this state. When it comes to notions of what art should be, there may not be much difference between residents and visitors. The standard expectations seem to be of monumental mountainscapes, majestic mammals, or cowboy kitsch.
As a photographer working in black and white–already outside the norm–I am, depending on the photograph, taken to be either just like Ansel Adams or not at all like him. And after that it’s digital or film and do I manipulate the images?
Don’t get me wrong. The questions are not only valid, they’re important ones that I’ve grappled with in my work, as have many others. And I actually enjoy responding to them if I’m talking to someone interested and open-minded. Still, it’s extraordinarily refreshing to discuss with someone free of the usual preconceptions.
Montana and landscape are hardly unique in this regard. What do you have to deal with, either in creating or presenting your art? Is it generally a good or a bad experience for you?