Bob Durden’s “Earthly Delights,” a new series of colorful encaustic and oil paintings on display at Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art in Great Falls, illuminates the artist’s connection to nature through landscapes while transmitting subtle aspects of correlations within humanity.
“Growing up and living much of my life in Montana, I have always been drawn to the landscape for inspiration. I am continually struck by the surrounding beauty.”
He explores the relationship between humans and nature in his work, “though ironically, humans are rarely ever present.”
Recent paintings and drawings explore the sublime aspects of the natural world. “My intention is to convey a message that is politically neutral, preferring to convey an attitude about the balance and sense of calm that can be found in a chaotic world,” he writes.
“I find inspiration in my gardens and the creatures that inhabit it. Big truths can be found while looking at the phenomenal world that is spread beneath our feet.”
Durden hopes viewers find beauty in his work that inspires them to further seek out the joy and wonder in their own surroundings, “whether it’s a bee in flight, the symphony of color in a garden, or the simple joy that can be found when examining a blade of grass swaying in the breeze.”
Durden currently lives in Billings, where he serves as the senior curator at the Yellowstone Art Museum. He earned a bachelor of arts in painting and communication arts in 1984 from Eastern Montana College and a master of fine arts from Montana State University in 1990.
Though this Montanan is deeply bonded to his roots, his academic career includes time spent at the University of Oregon and Wichita State University, and he has worked in the arts in Kentucky. In the early 2000s he served as the curator of art for Paris Gibson Square and his work has been exhibited across the western United States.