Marylou Blakeslee and Jimmy Talarico, “Life’s Layers”

Bozeman artists share new works through June at Zoot Gallery

Art Beat

The latest works by Jimmy Talarico and Marylou Blakeslee are on display through June at Zoot Enterprises Gallery near Bozeman in “Life’s Layers.”

Works by Marylou Blakeslee are part of Zoot Gallery exhibit
Works by Marylou Blakeslee are part of Zoot Gallery exhibitPhoto © Marylou Blakeslee

Blakeslee is an artist and naturalist whose life and art are inspired by the beauty of this world. Rushing clouds, the weight and power of crashing surf, or the energy of the wind are described using texture, color and movement.

For the past 20 years, she has traveled the world, lecturing on a number of topics from the bears and wolves of the Arctic, to the leopard seals and whales of the Antarctic, as well as the turtles and fishes of the Great Barrier Reef.

Most summers Marylou works as a park ranger at Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska. Fall finds her guiding trips among the “ice experts,” the polar bears of Churchill, Manitoba. Her naturalist work in Antartica, in the austral summer, provides ample opportunities to share observations of interactions of ice, climate and marine life. By late winter, Baja beckons with grey whales birthing in warm lagoons, desert wildflowers in bloom, or finds her leading trips to Yellowstone Park for a glimpse of the winter world of the wolf.

Blakeslee began her involvement with the natural world through her love for drawing and painting. Her work is included in collections across the country and internationally. She hopes her paintings “engage the viewer in an ongoing conversation about how we see the world.”

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From the "Am I Important?" series by Jimmy Talarico
From the “Am I Important?” series by Jimmy TalaricoPhoto © Jimmy Talarico

Jimmy Talarico’s artwork is about value and hope. He repurposes “de-valued” materials, namely wax from used candles and ash from discarded paper waste, into objects of beauty. His art becomes a metaphor to address issues of social justice and our intimate struggles with self-worth. Included in this show is his new series “Am I Important?”

Talerico was born and raised south of Chicago, but left shortly after high school to start a life in Montana. He earned a bachelor’s in environmental design and a master’s in architecture from Montana State University, and currently works as a project designer for CTA Architects Engineers.

“My passion for the arts has always been a staple of who I am,” he says. Over the years, that passion inspired public poetry readings in high school, short experimental films in San Diego, furniture design and construction, and two- and three-dimensional art in all media.

His typically begins his current body of work by creating a wax-and-ash slurry. “The wax I use is from candles I purchase at local thrift stores for a very specific reason, they have a memory,” he says. He gleans ash from burning discarded cardboard, mixes it with the wax, and creates a textured black slurry that he trowels onto raw canvas, shapes, and allows to dry. Other materials may include plaster, fabric, wood, flowers or metal. He also adds color for contrast with the black ash.

“At the core of every piece is an exploration into hope, vulnerability, and the quest for courage,” he says. Learn more at