Seven local artists unite for pop-up show this weekend


Among the works that will be on view during the MIXX7 pop-show this weekend is Jane Waggoner Deschner’s “Remember me” (detail) made of hand-embroidered found photographs.

A two-day pop-up art show will be held Friday and Saturday at 4ZERO7 Gallery, a private gallery open for the event, at 407 N. 24th St.

The show is called MIXX7, for the seven participating artists, and will run from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday and 3 to 6 p.m. on Saturday. It is billed as a show of “Current projects and musings from our studios.”

The artists are Jon Lodge, Lillie Grace, Jodi Lightner, Mark Earnhart, Keeara
Rhodes, Gordon McConnell and Jane Waggoner Deschner. Lightner, an assistant professor of art at MSU Billings, said the works on display will be “brand-new, raw and exploratory in nature.”

Here is some information about the artists and the work they will be showing:

Jon Lodge is currently experimenting with mechanics of surface tension by layering materials (static cling vinyl, acrylic, air bubbles, paper) through stochastic processes. Test modules/specimens willbe exhibited at MIXX7.

Lodge was born in Red Lodge in 1945. His formal art training was in jazz performance and composition at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Working as the school’s photographer and art director, he gradually migrated into visual media. Lodge’s current work fuses systems and processes of music and visual art — emphasizing material and stochastic process (planned systems of randomness) to generate a conceptual and visual duality.


Jodi Lightner’s “Blueprint to Rewrite History” (detail), acrylic, ink and oil on Mylar.

Lillie Grace is experimenting with cord that is drawn over and around pegs and inserted into predrilled holes in a plywood board.  These cords cross, separate, appear and disappear and occasionally come together randomly to form dense nodes of overlapping cords.

Grace was born in Laurel in 1947.  Her formal art exposure embraced watercolor, video, sculpture and lithography.  She received her BFA at MSU Billings and her and her MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier, Vt. Currently she is using visual rhizomes to illustrate unrelated thoughts, decisions, and/or choices that join to build nodes of ideas and actions.

Jodi Lightner is exploring ideas regarding the malleability of built structures that envelop and surround our daily lives. These mundane and functional stalwarts of architecture rarely accommodate a sense of play and imagination that informs early life and instead leave patterns of complacency in our interaction with them. Taking cues from the idealistic treehouse with its close relationship to nature and its unconventional mode of operation, it might be possible to reimagine the space we occupy as something more impossible.

Lightner completed her MFA degree at Wichita State University in 2010 and now teaches painting and drawing at MSU Billings. Her favorite part of teaching is field trips and she tries to take them as often as possible.

Mark Earnhart writes, “Encountering a thing is complicated. There is a system of recognition where material, function and value are assessed. This cadence of acknowledgement is dependent on factors of want and need. But just beneath this hierarchy of categorizing are our own scenarios and histories with things. The personal reflected with an object is a powerful perception. It is our own experience that makes the idea of a thing go beyond materiality, utility and cost.”

Earnhart is an assistant professor of sculpture at MSU Billings, where he has taught since 2013. He earned a BFA from Ohio University in 2007 and an MFA from the University of Maryland in 2013. He was the sculpture and ceramics studio technician and adjunct faculty member at Marshall University from 2007 to 2010.

Keeara Rhodes enjoys creating persona-based masquerades that focus on the psychological impact of rules, boundaries and misunderstandings. Using parody, MEMES and pop-drama, her self-performed characters critique social hierarchies and nonsense in everyday life. Through multimedia storytelling, she enjoys developing character depth and subtext into her video works which combine landscape constructions with audio narratives to prompt character action within a constructed reality.

Rhodes was born and raised on the Wyoming side of the Black Hills. She is curious and devoted to meaning-making. Her artworks have been exhibited nationally and internationally, with productions in Italy, Spain and China. Living and working as an exhibiting artist in Seattle for over a decade, Keeara enjoys collaborating with artists, producing films, writing scripts and songs, playing drums and performing. She relocated to Billings last summer, and is an assistant professor in new media/photography at MSU Billings.

Gordon McConnell made dozens of collages, cut and torn and pasted from the comics, advertising and other newspaper graphics, from 1979 to 1982. He then turned to photographic source material for his paintings, and for more than three decades, found a peculiarly personal expression as a painter, interpreting cinematic images as direct and heart-felt experience. In the past couple of years, he’s been making photomontages of movie stills and some collage-like paintings.


Gordon McConnell’s “Misfits: Roping a Dream,” photomontage on canvas.

McConnell’s work is well-recognized and widely collected. Surveys of his work have been mounted at the Ucross Foundation, Nicolaysen Art Museum, University of Wyoming Art Museum, the Yellowstone Art Museum, Charles M. Bair Family Museum and Visions West Gallery. An exhibition curated by Leanne Gilbertson will be mounted at MSU Billings in September 2018.

Jane Waggoner Deschner’s ongoing combinatorial project, Remember me: a collective narrative in found words and photographs,” integrates vernacular photographs with material culled from obituaries written by the deceased’s family and/or friends. In this piece, 101 nicknames are hand-embroidered into a montage of anonymous family photographs.

Deschner earned her MFA from Vermont College in 2002. After working for over a decade to explore our collective narrative through vernacular photographs, she is currently obsessed with searching obituaries published throughout the United States and Canada for interesting expressions that she uses to narrate the photos. Remember me will be in her solo exhibition at the University of Michigan–Dearborn in 2018.

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