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Posted: March 20, 2014

Flathead Wild Art Exhibit coming to Fernie

The Flathead Wild Art Exhibit is the result of bringing together local artists into the wild Flathead River Valley for a week.

Flathead Wild Poster FernieThe works in the show were generated after an Artist Retreat in the Flathead River Valley in August 2012, when five local artists joined plein air painter Dwayne Harty for a multi-day retreat to both improve their plein air painting style and to capture the scenic Flathead Valley in artwork. It features works from Laura Nelson (Fernie), Tara Higgins (Fernie), Joseph Cross (Cranbrook), Denise Lemaster (Invermere), and Simon Haiduk (Kimberley). It also features works from Jackson Hole-based artist Dwayne Harty; Banff National Park’s inaugural artist-in-residence and a renowned wildlife artist.

The Flathead River Valley is one of the most biologically important places on the planet. The valley is home to a free-flowing river with exceptional water quality and is unmatched in North America for the variety, completeness and density of carnivore species, such as grizzly bears, that live and breed there. As rich in plant species as the Okavango Delta or the Serengeti, the Flathead is a mixing zone for plant species from north, south, east and west and is noted for its brilliant wildflowers.

The Flathead is a key link for animals moving north and south through the Rocky Mountains from Montana’s Glacier National Park to Canadian gems like Banff and Jasper. It is a magical place of great wildness that has never been permanently settled.

The six exhibition artists share a deep appreciation of nature and express that through their artwork.

Laura Nelson thrives in the beautiful Rocky Mountain town of Fernie, where lifestyle, community and landscape create a powerful sense of place and provide endless inspiration for this visual artist. Her paintings celebrate the colour, rhythm, and energy of the outdoors, and reveal the intensity of her bond to these natural places.

Tara Higgins also resides in the historic town of Fernie, where everyone is strongly intertwined with nature. This connection is reflected in Tara’s work where she draws out the trees from the woods. Through bold brush strokes and a strong sense of colour her paintings are striking impressions of the iconic Canadian landscape.

Born in Saskatchewan, Joseph Cross has lived in Cranbrook since 1974. Through his art Joseph conveys perspectives on the way we look at ourselves, our environment, and our lifestyles. A self-taught artist, he works in oils, pastels, pen and ink.

Raised in Cranbrook, Denise Lemaster lives in Invermere and has been a professional artist for over a decade. She views painting not only as a way to reflect upon and interpret nature, but as her most powerful way to be its advocate and steward. Working primarily with oils, Denise has developed a distinctive style with broad appeal.

Growing up in British Columbia and currently living in Kimberly Simon Haiduk developed strong foundations in visual arts, music and an affinity with nature. As a mostly self-taught artist, Simon has explored various mediums and subjects and his work demonstrates the strong thematic influence of spirituality.

Come to the Flathead Wild opening reception on Thursday, March 27 at 7 p.m. at The Arts Station and be one of the first to see this stunning show. The exhibit continues until Monday, April 18.

Lead image: Five artists gathered at the now closed Flathead Valley Canada/US border August 2012 for an Artists Retreat, part of a larger gathering including dozens of scientists. Invermere artist Denise Lemaster worked for a while with a dragonfly resting near her. Ian Cobb/e-KNOW

The Arts Station

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