About the HECG

Here We Are Now: Work by Anne Appleby

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The School of Art at Montana State University is pleased to present Here We Are Now:  Works by Anne Appleby at Helen E. Copeland Gallery located on the second floor of Haynes Hall, Bozeman, MT.  Here We Are will be on display from Monday, August 19th to Friday, October 18th, 2019.  On Thursday, October 17th, there will be a gallery talk with the artist at 5 pm, followed by a reception in the gallery until 8 pm.  The gallery talk and reception are free and open to the public. Hors d’oeuvres will be served.

Here We Are Now showcases prints and paintings of indigenous Montana flora and trees by Anne Appleby.  However, this is no traditional botanical exhibition.  In the late 1970’s and 1980’s, Appleby held a 15-year apprenticeship with a Chippewa elder, learning to deeply observe nature.  It is clear in Appleby’s work that during this apprenticeship, she not only grasped nature, but in some ways, became that nature, and transposed the quintessence and marrow of it to the canvas for her attentive viewers.

Mountain Honeysuckle, 2015
Oil and wax on panel
45 x 45 inches

Appleby, regarded as a minimalist painter, creates color field compositions that consist of at least 30 layers of wax and oil paint washes.  Thus, Appleby creates luminous surfaces that capture not just the various hues of landscape or object, but the overall sentiment of a specific time and place.  In works like Mountain Honeysuckle, the viewer is reminded of a honeysuckle plant they have personally seen, but also the moment, place, and atmosphere in which that honeysuckle existed for that person.  When looking at Winter Aspen, the untouched snow, the stringent nip of the cold, the clean aroma of the winter landscape, once again take breath.  Appleby’s works retain a freshness that allows the viewer to see nature anew.  As stated by artist and art writer, Diane Armitage, “Walking into the gallery during the artist’s show and taking a quick look around gave local viewers the impression that they had stepped into an ecosystem that they knew very well yet were also seeing for the first time.”

Winter Aspen, 2000
color aquatint with burnishing
Image size: 13 ¾ x 21”; paper size: 25 ½ x 32”
Edition of 35, Artist Proof

In her translations of cottonwoods, Oregon grapes, aspens, mints, and honeysuckles, Appleby employs hue and light in an Impressionistic manner to evoke the temperament of a location– or a lasting subtlety of a specific occasion– that the viewer may not be aware they absorbed like hypotonic osmosis.  According to Appleby, “My paintings are not about the other world.  They’re about our place in this world. What nourishes the soul is the experience of being in the body.”

Mother E, 2009
Oil and wax on panel
72 x 70 inches

If every wonderful interaction with nature in Montana seems to be fleeting; if you ever questioned whether you enjoyed that experience enough, were mindful enough, or were present enough, the work in Here We Are Now will reassure you that you did take that wilderness with you—and Appleby’s paintings will provide the proof.


Anne Appleby was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 1954.  She received her BFA in Painting from the University of Montana in 1977 and her MFA in Painting from San Francisco Art Institute in 1989.  She has shown nationally and internationally including Danese in New York City; the Tacoma Art Museum in Tacoma, WA; PDX Contemporary Art in Portland, OR; the Mayor Gallery in London, England; the Museum Ritter in Waldenbuch, Germany; and the Villa e Collezione Panza in Varese, Italy.  Her work is in the permanent collections of the National Gallery, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Daimier Art Collection in Berlin, the Boise Art Museum, as well as in the collections of the General Mills Corporation, the Hewlett-Packard Corporation, and the Microsoft Corporation.

Winter Honeysuckle, 2012
Oil and wax on panel
49 x 32 inches

She currently resides and works in Jefferson City and will have a solo exhibition, A Hymn for the Mother at the Missoula Art Museum in 2020.

For more information on Anne Appleby and her work, please visit www.applebystudios.com.

The Helen E. Copeland Gallery is located on the second floor of Haynes Hall, across from the Aashiem Gate off 11th Avenue on MSU Bozeman Campus.  The gallery is open Monday – Friday from 9 am – 5 pm whenever classes are in session. Please note that parking passes are required for parking during the business day (6 am – 6 pm).  For more information of the gallery and upcoming programming, please visit us on Facebook or call (406) 994-4501.


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Branching Existence: New Work by Jessica Mongeon

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The School of Art at Montana State University is pleased to announce the opening of Branching Existence: Jessica Mongeon, at Helen E. Copeland Gallery located on the second floor of Haynes Hall, Bozeman MT.  Branching Existence will be on view all summer beginning on Friday, May 17th  and running through Wednesday, August 7th. The gallery and reception are free and open to the public Monday through Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 and closed on holidays. There will be a public reception, attended by the artist on Thursday, July 25th, 6:00 – 8:00 pm which is free and open to the public.  Hors d’oeuvres will be served. 

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In Branching Existence, new work by MSU alum Jessica Mongeon discusses the relationship between humans and nature; highlighting the similarities between human brain neurons, natural organisms, and geographical features. Mongeon’s atmospheric, eerily whimsical landscapes are painted with acrylic on tree-free eco-friendly paper. They are inspired by walks in the damp forests of Wisconsin and Arkansas, which contrast with the vast landscapes of the Great Plains where she lived for over 25 years. By using unexpected and sometimes jarring color combinations, she creates a visceral or intuitive response, similar to how humans experience the environment.


By juxtapositioning human neuron paths and entities like lichen and fractals, while also experimenting with the scale of these microscopic formations, Mongeon’s work has a harmonizing analysis of human interplay with the environment. According to Mongeon, “Neurons symbolize consciousness, an awareness of one’s surroundings. They show a connection between humans and nature because of their tree-like branching quality […] Neurons must connect and communicate to keep the mind and body alive. Similarly, lichen is made of a fungus, an alga and sometimes a yeast that work in symbiosis. By acknowledging our embodiment of nature, perhaps we can care for the ecosystems that sustain us as much as we care for our own bodies.”


However, negative human impacts on nature inform her work as well, adding to the slightly uncanny feeling in her prismatic compositions. “The nobler qualities of humanity are explored, as well as destructive tendencies. For example, I depict the destruction at Joshua Tree National Park that took place during the government shutdown,” states Mongeon. There is a palpable Brother’s Grimm feel to the work– an unsettling playfulness that is both haunting and alluring as her pieces seem to grow from a black ground: a possible indictment of humans environmental violations, or an entrancing symbiotic relationship, depending on what the viewer brings to the work.


Jessica Mongeon was born in Rolette, North Dakota and now resides in Arkansas, where she is an Assistant Professor of Art at Arkansas Tech University.  Mongeon has exhibited nationally and internationally, including juried group exhibitions at the Painting Center in New York City and 203 Art Gallery in Shanghai, China. She received a MFA in Painting from Montana State University, and a BFA from the University of North Dakota.

For more information on Jessica Mongeon and her work, please visit


Spring 2019 BFA Thesis Exhibition

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2019 Spring BFA Thesis Exhibition
Reception:  May 3rd , 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Exhibition:  Wednesday, April 17th – Friday, May 3rd
Helen E. Copeland Gallery (HECG)
213 Haynes Hall, Bozeman, MT 59717

The School of Art at Montana State University is pleased to announce the opening of the Spring 2019 BFA Thesis Exhibition at the Helen E. Copeland located on the second floor of the School of Art in Haynes Hall, Bozeman, MT. The show will be on exhibit Wednesday, April 17th through Friday, May 3rd, 2019. A reception will be held on Friday, May 3rd from 6:00-8:00 p.m. and will be free and open to the public. Hors d’oeuvres will be served.

On view will be the thesis works of 12 emerging artists graduating with their Bachelors Degrees in Fine Art.  The following disciplines and concentrations will be represented: painting, ceramics, printmaking, sculpture, and metalsmithing.


For BFA graduates, the thesis exhibition represents an important transition period from student to working artist. It marks an end to academically assigned work, and the beginning of their individual research and artistic maturity. The exhibited works synthesis the growth of each artist over their years spent at MSU.


The following students will be in the exhibition: Ben Blackwood, Christy Burgard, Josh Eder, Ashley Gangle, Jenna Hawthorne, Jane Herzog, Jessica Jones, Hans Foster Million, Elsa Nordberg, Holden Roberts, Jack Schwarze, and Ally Sweet.


As always, the issues and topics covered in this work range.  To name a few, Blackwood, Schwarze, and Gangle students pledge allegiance to the raw qualities of their materials, while Sweet and Pratt discuss their experiences with conditions such as synesthesia, ADD, and depression.  While Herzog looks into the merging or technology and craft, Million investigates nomadic transient cultures through metalsmithing. Jones finds she follows in her mother’s footsteps as Hawthorne questions the fleeting nature of experience. Through the use of bombastic color, Burgard illustrates Greek mythology, Eder is influenced by pop culture and graffiti, and Norberg facilitates the use of space with the juxtaposition of fabrics and welded steel.  Roberts, who recently won a grant to install work in the new Norm Asbjornson Hall, will have a reception celebrating his installation prior to the BFA reception in Haynes Hall. Please check the Helen E. Copeland website for developing details on this event.


In combination, these students have received grants, completed residencies around the country, and have had their own solo shows or participated in group shows during their time at Montana State University. This cohort exemplifies some of the best work that the MSU School of Art has to offer and we are personally excited to witness their future endeavors.


The Spring 2019 BFA Thesis Exhibition will be on view from Wednesday, April 17th – Friday, May 3rd, 2019 in the Helen E. Copeland Gallery. The HECG is located on the second floor of Haynes Hall, across from the Aasheim Gate off of 11th, with the Ski Swing out front. Please note that the parking passes are required for parking during the business day (6AM – 6PM). Gallery Hours: Monday – Friday, 9AM – 5PM/Closed on weekends.
For more information on this exhibition the 2019 Spring BFA Thesis Exhibition or on the Helen E. Copeland gallery in general, please visit www.hecgallery.com or follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/msuhecg.

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Jon Bashioum: Beyond the White Cube

Jon Bashioum Poster 2The Helen E. Copeland Gallery and the School of Art at Montana State University are excited to announce Beyond the White Cube, the Master of Fine Arts thesis exhibition of Jon Bashioum. The exhibition will take place in Helen E. Copeland Gallery in Haynes Hall on the Montana State University campus in Bozeman, Montana, April 8th – April 12th, 2019. An additional exhibition will take place April 10th from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm in the Beyond Gallery, Bashioum’s mobile gallery, which is being hosted by Bunkhouse Brewery located at 1216 West Lincoln street Bozeman, Montana.


Public receptions will be held April 10th 2019 from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm at both the Helen E. Copeland Gallery and Bunkhouse Brewery.  Bunkhouse Brewery is only a short 0.4 mile walk due South of Haynes Hall. Bashioum’s mugs will be available for purchase at Bunkhouse with proceeds going to S.L.A.M. (Support Local Artists and Musicians).


Beyond the White Cube will feature functional and sculptural ceramic vessels that explore the place of art in the gallery and in our everyday lives. Works shown in both the Helen E. Copeland Gallery and the Beyond Gallery explore the juxtaposition of standard white-cube gallery practices versus alternative display strategies.  Bashioum’s thesis  questions the appropriateness of the white cube as the standard by which we experience art and propose that, at times, alternative spaces may be a more effective way to exhibit and discuss art.


Bashioum is a wood fire potter that was born in North Carolina and moved away shortly after. Having never seen the place where he was born, he took to rambling around the country and has adopted Montana as his home. After earning his bachelor’s degree in music from Bethany College in West Virginia, and narrowly missing an art degree due to a clerical error, Jon pursued a variety of global experiences in ceramics. The idea of an area being “home” interests him due to his perennial lack of a location designated as home. His explorations of utilitarian wares represent a curiosity in the regional lifestyles that can only exist from long-term inhabitation, but are best appreciated by the traveler. With his eyes ever on the road, Bashioum intends to take the Beyond Gallery on the road for exhibitions and workshops to promote local artists while maintaining an active studio practice.

The Helen E. Copeland Gallery is located on the second floor of Haynes Hall, across from the Aasheim Gate off 11th, with the Ski Swing out front. Please note that the parking passes are required for parking during the business day (6AM – 6PM). Gallery Hours: Monday – Friday, 9AM – 5PM/Closed on weekends.

For more information on this exhibition or on the Helen E. Copeland gallery in general, please us www.hecgallery.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/msuhecg and Instagram @helen.e.copeland. More information about SLAM and Bunkhouse Brewery can be found at www.slamfestivals.org and www.bunkhousebrewery.com. Online information about Bashioum and the Beyond Gallery can be found online at www.jonbashioum.com, www.thebeyondgallery.net, and on his neglected Instagram @jon_bashioum and @the_beyond_gallery.



Second Skin: Tori Burchill

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The Helen E. Copeland Gallery and the School of Art at Montana State University are pleased to announce Second Skin, a thesis exhibition by Master of Fine Arts candidate, Victoria Burchill. The exhibition will take place at the Helen E. Copeland Gallery in Haynes Hall on the Montana State University campus in Bozeman, Montana from Monday, April 1st – Friday, April 5th, 2019. Burchill’s verbal defense will take place Monday, April 1st at 11 am in the Helen E. Copeland Gallery and is open to the public. There will be a reception for Second Skin on Thursday, April 4th from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. All events are free and open to the public.

Second Skin refers to the body’s exterior adornments that contribute to an individual’s identity. Genetics are no longer a deciding factor in beauty, rather the second skin can revolutionize one’s appearance. Each individual has full control over their second skin, and therefore, appearance can impede people’s ability to connect with each other because differences are made visible.

Burchill uses the form of a rope in her sculptures as a symbol of the human attitude toward another person. When a rope is between two people, each has a choice: to either pull on the rope and determine the peer is a competitor, therefore engaging them in a battle of tug of war; or use the rope as a connecting force, an opportunity to pull one in and collaborate with them as an ally. Burchill recognizes that visual identity plays a large role in the initial reaction: to compete or to collaborate. The exhibition Second Skin eludes to how visual identity can alter social interactions.

Victoria Burchill is a Montana based artist working in various materials including makeup, hair, and non-ferrous metal. She received a BS in Art Education from Nazareth College of Rochester in 2016. She has exhibited nationally, as well as internationally. In May, she will be exhibiting work at the 2019 SNAG conference in Chicago in the Exhibition in Motion.

Following Second Skin will be Jon Bashioum’s thesis exhibition, Beyond the White Cube, from Monday, April 8 – Thursday, April 11, 2019.


Perceptual Interference

poster2The Helen E. Copeland Gallery and the School of Art at Montana State University are pleased to announce the Master of Fine Art’s thesis exhibition of Alyssa Riann Willard, Perceptual Interference. The exhibition will take place at the Helen E. Copeland Gallery in Haynes Hall on the Montana State University campus in Bozeman, Montana, Monday, March 25th- Friday, March 29th, 2019 from 9:00 am- 5:00 pm. Willard’s thesis defense will take place March 25th at 11am – 12pm in the gallery. There will be a reception for Perceptual Interference on Thursday March 28th, 2019 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. All events are open to the public.

Willard’s work serves as an outlet for her questions about the origins of matter and life, the unknown future, and the interactions between matter and energy. While collaborating with Montana State Universities Physics Department, she created various works that were a response to research being done on the sun and works that examine the interlocking pieces of the fundamental interactions of reality – that is: Electromagnetism, gravity and the strong and weak nuclear forces. “I am fascinated by the sun’s interactions with our magnetic field, as well as the magnetic field lines that are made visible by solar flares. Although the sun gives us vision, we cannot look at the sun with the naked eye. Similarly, fundamental forces are not visible. Because of this, a visual depiction of these inherently incorporates surreal and transcendent qualities, things I enjoy incorporating into my work. Through my art I explore ways to depict the invisible forces that shape our world and investigate interactions and connections between different forms of energy and between energy and ourselves; attempting to evoke something beyond ourselves and beyond our perceptions.”

Alyssa Willard received her B.F.A. from Central Washington University in 2015 and has exhibited regionally and nationally during the last decade. She recently engaged in the first collaborative creative project on MSU campus between the Physics Department and the School of Art, which resulted in her winning first prize and the offer in fall 2018 to be the first ever Artist in Residence in Physics. The painting that won her the residency will be on public display in Montana State University’s Barnard Hall for three years. Her yearlong residency will conclude with an exhibition of work in Barnard Hall, run concurrently with Perceptual Interference.




Ontogenesis: Megan Sprenger

MSprenger_OntogenesisPoster.jpgThe Helen E. Copeland Gallery and the School of Art at Montana State University are pleased to announce the opening of Ontogenesis, the Master of Fine Arts thesis exhibition of Megan Sprenger.  The exhibition will take place at the Helen E. Copeland Gallery in Haynes Hall on the Montana State University campus in Bozeman, Montana, March 11th -15th, 2019. Sprenger’s thesis defense will take place March 11th at 11:00 am  in the Helen E. Copeland Gallery.  There will be a public reception for Ontogenesis on Thursday, March 14th, from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. All events are open to the public.

Ontogenesis is a body of work comprised of sculptural objects and drawings that allude to architectural spaces as a mirrored and collective subconscious communication within the human growth. This development is both an internal and external growth of humans as they are shaped by the spaces they live and breathe.

Sprenger’s interest in phenomena of space stems from the idea of independence as well as mutual development of both the city and the self. Ultimately, she views this development of humans in comparison to the city as being a sotto biological organism rather than a cog in a machine. According to Sprenger, “I have found great inspiration looking back to my time in Turkey, more precisely Istanbul. One place that left a lasting impact on me was the Hagia Sophia. Within the Hagia Sophia, there was an interesting juxtaposition of the layers exposed, scaffolding being used to uncover as well as restore the building. There is a beauty to the chaos that is happening within the space. Crowds of people gawked at the immensity of the place where they stood. There were so many different materials used, but one thing stands out — the fragility of how the scaffolding looked. At times, it was as if the only thing supporting the parts of the interior were the intrinsic structures of the scaffolding. In connection to this fragility I believe that humans grow both externally and internally through the influence of the spaces where we reside.”

Megan Sprenger received her BFA from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2016. Her work stems from her experience abroad in Turkey, Italy and many other European countries. By participating in workshops at Anderson Ranch in Snowmass Village, CO; Red Lodge Clay Center  in Red Lodge, MT; Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, MN; as well as her time living in both Duluth, Minnesota and Bozeman, Montana, she has been afforded time to reflect on her own culture in relation to the others she has observed and studied. For more information on Sprenger and her portfolio please visit: www.megansprengerceramics.com

Finally, Ontogenesis is the second of the five MFA candidates. Following Ontogenesis will be Alyssa Willard, who will be presenting her thesis exhibition on Monday, March 25th – 29th, 2019.

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