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Gaylen Hansen: Three Decades of Paintings

June 13 - August 23, 2008


Missoula Art Museum is pleased to present, Gaylen Hansen: Three Decades of Paintings, June 13 - August 23. Organized by Washington State University Museum of Art Curator, Keith Wells, the exhibit is a 30-year retrospective of paintings by Palouse, Washington-based painter, Gaylen Hansen. Hansen, a WSU Fine Arts professor emeritus, has exhibited his paintings in New York, Berlin, Singapore, Beijing, Los Angeles, Seattle and other cities in the United States. He is the recipient of a 1989 Governor's Award from the State of Washington and a 2001 Flintridge Foundation Visual Arts Award. This is Hansen's first major exhibition in Montana. (right: Keith Wells, Missoula Art Museum, Hansen Gallery Talk, June 2008)

Missoula Art Museum Curator Stephen Glueckert says, "We are proud to host this traveling exhibition by an artist for whom we have the utmost respect. We are a small institution so the opportunity to feature work by an artist who has such far reaching influence is in itself gratifying. Hansen's influence is widespread, and his aesthetic voice consistent. He has pursued his discipline as a painter for thirty years, and the exhibition demonstrates a determination and fortitude that is seldom matched."

Keith Wells says the exhibit traces Hansen's evolution as an artist. "From his tenderly rendered narrative paintings of the 1970's, to his bolder canvases in which his palette has become more vibrant, the compositions more complex, and the imagery more iconic -- it's all represented in the exhibit."

WSU Museum of Art Director, Chris Bruce says, "Hansen has lived in rural Eastern Washington since 1957 when he joined the faculty of Washington State College, and yet his paintings have been seen all over the world. Still, he remains an under-recognized artist of vast talent and emotional range, who follows a deeply American expressive and eccentric tradition of artists such as Red Grooms, H.C. Westermann and Philip Guston. He has created that most difficult of all artistic accomplishments -- combining a serious, edgy painting style with humor and personal narratives that allow both art connoisseurs and every day folk to enjoy and appreciate his art." (left: Gaylen Hansen, Kernal Riding Grasshopper, 1999, oil on canvas, 48 x 60 inches)

Hansen, 86, says he chronicles what amuses and interests him most: fly fishing, his surrounding rural land, the animals that populate that land and his environmental concerns. A review in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says Hansen "paints the human comedy as if it's coming to a close." Born and raised on his grandparent's farm in Utah, Hansen attended Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, Utah State University, the Art Barn School of Fine Arts and the Salt Lake City Art Center. In 1953, he earned an MFA degree from the University of Southern California.

The exhibition is accompanied by a full-color book produced by Marquand Books of Seattle and includes: introduction by WSU Museum of Art Director Chris Bruce; text by WSU Museum of Art Curator, Keith Wells; Hansen's own commentaries in conversation with Wells on more than 20 individual paintings; a tribute to Hansen by cartoonist and fellow artist, Gary Larson; a chronology highlighting important events and persons in the artist's life and more than 100 color plates.


(above: Gaylen Hansen: Three Decades of Painting exhibition detail, Missoula Art Museum, June 2008)


Special events

Members Only Preview Party: June 12, 6-8 pm
Gallery Talk: Exhibition Curator Keith Wells and WSU Museum of Art Director Chris Bruce, June 12, 7 pm
Artist Reception and Gallery Talk, Artini: July 17, 7 pm


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