Contemporary Folk Animals grace Missoula Art Park

Missoula Art Museum’s outdoor gallery showcases animal sculptures by three Montanans

Art Beat

The Missoula Art Museum presents Contemporary Folk Animals, a group show of artists from across the state. Four animal sculptures made from repurposed materials are on view in the Missoula Art Park through Oct. 8.

Bill Ohrmann's life-size "Elk" is part of an outdoor exhibit at the Missoula Art Park.
Bill Ohrmann’s life-size “Elk” is part of an outdoor exhibit at the Missoula Art Park.Photo © Bill Ohrmann

The installation features artworks by Drummond artist Bill Ohrmann, Bozeman’s Kirsten Kainz, and Missoula artist George Ybarra. The animals depicted in this exhibition are familiar across western Montana and these ambitious artists have presented each in large-scale.

“Art Park installations are among MAM’s most accessible, seen by thousands of people every summer,” said MAM senior curator Brandon Reintjes. “We wanted to present an exhibition that has immediate appeal for the public to brighten the exterior of the museum, downtown, and our community while communicating that art is for everyone.”

Kirsten Kainz is a multi-disciplinary artist from Bozeman, who discovered metalsmithing while in college at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and pursued it as career. Alongside her rigorous and routine studio practice, she works on commission for clients across the United States.

George Ybarra is a professional metal sculptor who has worked both as an artist and curator in Missoula since 1994. Ybarra’s metal fabrications combine aspects of modern art and the uninhibited landscape. His installations can be found in Montana, Oregon, and Washington.

The late Bill Ohrmann of Drummond was a self-taught artist with an uncanny versatility in both painting and sculpting. He drew upon his ranching and animal husbandry roots for influence in his artwork. The native Montanan, who died in 2014, was born in Hall and lived near Drummond where the Bill Ohrmann Museum continues to showcase his work.

“All three artists are wonderfully gifted public sculptors and we’re grateful for their participation,” says Reintjes.

The Missoula Art Park opened in 2017 and extends the museum’s footprint outdoors. Located on the corner of Pattee and Pine streets, it features seasonal sculpture exhibitions while promoting creativity in a public space and showcasing Montana artists.

Contemporary Folk Animals is on display now through Oct. 8, with a reception with the artists 5-7 p.m. Friday, June 3, at the Missoula Art Museum.