Figure Drawing is an incredibly important aspect of artistic development, offering artists opportunities for study; of anatomy, posture, gesture, mapping space, exploring figure-ground relationships, shading, light sources, and so much more.
Modeling in a Figure Drawing space can offer opportunities for personal development; confronting standards of beauty, giving models control over objectification, testing the exertion of strength and physical finesse through poses, and so much more.
The relationship between model and artist is often misrepresented in television, film, and literature, and is just as often misunderstood. Nudity without sexual connotations seems a concept that can be difficult to understand or explain. Moreover, societal pressure for a presentation of the “perfect” human form further complicates the representation of muses and models. Models and artists can create a powerful environment, divorced from sexuality, with a symbiotic relationship of learning and expression.
Modeling can challenge the idea of objectification, and of what is offered or available when someone undresses. In figure drawing space built foremost with consent, models have control over the objectification of their bodies. Allowing a group of strangers an unfiltered gaze of your body can require mental fortitude, firm boundaries, and trust. Done in this same space of consent, it can allow for a space of vulnerability. Modeling with diversity and representation confronts standards of beauty and perceived desirable traits. Finding and holding poses requires physical stamina and intimate knowledge from the model of their own body, ability, and comforts. This knowledge of comforts can have the additional aspect of confrontation as models acknowledge what they are comfortable with and uncomfortable with in their own perceptions of their bodies. For some, the experience as a model has allowed for healing.
For artists, what is being drawn is a removed view of a model’s body. Artists are generally not aware of a model’s securities, insecurities, or even history with medical diagnoses. The Figure Drawing space most often has artists removed from the kind of intimate knowledge of models that allows for this boundary. An artist is in the space to learn, practice, and refine.
A skillfully orchestrated figure drawing session is a creative juggernaut, which harnesses vast interpretations, mediums, and representations of beauty.
This exhibit explores uplifting the role of the model in a figure drawing practice, the impact it can hold on individuals to model, and the value of observation to artists. Through the practice of figure drawing in a creative space built with consent, diversity, and representation, it is hoped that all bodies can be celebrated in their intricacies.
This exhibit was created in partnership with Jonathan Stewart and the nonprofit EverGreen Adventures. EverGreen aims to connect people with chronic illnesses and their caregivers with each other, the outdoors, and other forms of expression to foster a sense of community and self-acceptance.
To hear from Figure Drawing model Zoe, click below.
To hear from Figure Drawing model Jason, click below.
Deana Mabry: holds a BFA in Interior Design from Marylhurst University and serves as a Project Manager at SMA Architecture + Design. Fueled by her mother’s enduring creativity, Deana inherited both wisdom and colored pencils upon her passing.
Larry Copenhaver: Art has been a strong part of my life, since I was a youngster with a paint-by-number Christmas gift.
My mother was a prize-winning oil painting artist, so we would all sit together and paint!
I came to Montana, with a BS in Wildlife and Fish Sciences hoping for employment in a field that never presented itself, as such. I was Charter President of a fledgling chapter of the National Audubon Society in Great Falls, MT, called the Upper Missouri Breaks Audubon Society where I designed, wrote articles, and illustrated our monthly newsletter about birds, landscapes, and issues. The line drawings in those newsletters caught attention and soon I was doing pen and ink wildlife art My first piece sold at a Ducks Unlimited in Fairfield, was of a Pronghorn antelope with a singing Horned Lark.
I finally worked in my chosen field of work, and was hired by the Montana Wildlife Federation as Conservation Director in 2001 and worked as a registered lobbyist for fish and wildlife issues, wrote newsletter articles, presented MWF positions at public venues Since then, many of my pen and ink pieces, and shadow boxes complete with an image, drawing or photo, and selection of tied trout flies have been auctioned as fundraising for non-profits like Montana Wildllife Federation, Trout Unlimited chapters, Ducks Unlimited, and more.
Soon, watercolor, pastel and multimedia were added to the resume. Most recently, scratchboard has become a passion. Projects such as Montana Upland Gamebirds, and other fish and bird subjects were shown in various venues, such as libraries, and art shows. I have shown/participated in the Anaconda Wildlife Art Expo, the Madison County Art show in Ennis, MT, the Park County art and craft show in Red Lodge, MT and the Ho-Ho-Ho Holiday exhibition at the Holter Museum.
The fortunate opportunity to draw the human figure was presented by the Holter Museum of Art and is highly appreciated and will continue to attend as long as the opportunity is offered.
Dale Beckman: Attending the figure drawing sessions at the Holter is what I like to do on Wednesday evenings. Art has always been important to me and drawing the contorted posse that models present has always been a challenge. I have involved myself with the creative process for several years. If you would like to see some of my work, I have an online gallery at dalebeckman.com.
Kate Murnion: I was born in the Midwest and moved to Montana in high school. I have always loved being creative and artistic, with my preferred form being creatures made from crochet. Art has always been an important part of my life, and I have found myself at various times drawn to artistic outlets and classes offered within my community. My relationship with my art has changed dramatically over the years as my chronic illness changes the way I can use my energy, but creating for the sake of creating has always remained a soothing activity for me.
Tim Holmes: Tim Holmes is a figurative sculptor for whom the human form is not simply bounded by the skin. His abiding interest is sculpting in whatever medium engages him, whether that be a chunk of metal, an idea or a community.
Though Holmes is most well-known for sculpture he has worked in a variety of other media from museum installation to film to foster a rich and imaginative future. He’s the first American artist ever invited to exhibit solo at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia, the world’s largest art museum, where his sculptures remain on permanent exhibit. His work has gained notice among some of the world’s peacemakers, from the Chinese dissident students of Tiananmen Square to the Physicians for Social Responsibility. President Jimmy Carter, the late Coretta Scott King and Czech President Vaclav Havel are among Holmes’ best-known collectors.
As his attention has steadily drifted from making objects toward creating stories of transformation, he’s become keenly interested in fostering creative approaches to contemporary problems, particularly among growing social challenges of living together in a rapidly shrinking world.
Holmes advocates for preserving rich and vulnerable human qualities amidst the tsunami of expanding technology we all experience, hoping to move the evolution of humanity toward a more responsive and sustainable world. In short, he believes that art is the medicine that will heal the world. https://www.timholmesstudio.com/
Elise Perpignano: I am a 27-year-old artist born and raised amidst the breathtaking landscapes of Montana. My creative journey is a testament to my unwavering passion for exploring the depths of humanity through the timeless art of figure drawing and portraiture.
From a young age, I have been captivated by the subtle interplay of light and shadow, line and form, inherent in the human body. It is this fascination that drives my work as a painter and designer, guiding me as I seek to capture the essence of the human condition in every stroke of my brush or pencil. I strive to convey not just the physicality of my subjects, but also their emotions, stories, and the very essence of their being.
My artistic journey has been shaped by a commitment to honing my craft and pushing the boundaries of traditional figure drawing. With each new piece, I aim to illuminate the beauty and complexity of the human form, celebrating the inherent dignity and resilience of my subjects.
Beyond my studio practice, I am deeply engaged in my local creative community, finding inspiration and support among fellow artists and enthusiasts. My work has been showcased in numerous exhibitions and public spaces, captivating audiences with its emotive power and striking aesthetic.
As I continue to evolve as an artist, my mission remains steadfast: to explore humanity and form through the transformative medium of figure drawing. With each new creation, I invite viewers to join me on a journey of discovery, where every line and curve is a testament to the enduring beauty and complexity of the human spirit.
Allison Rowland: Allison enjoys revisiting familiar mediums including pencil, charcoal, and watercolor from time to time. Her creative work has taken a back seat as she completed her education, worked, and raised a family, but she tries to keep her creative spirit alive. She loves exploring art through museum visits, art classes, and artist talks. She enjoys drawing and painting botanical specimens, still lifes, and live figures (without faces).
Muriel Condon: After being born in a trailer by midwife, Condon grew up around Bozeman, Montana. She holds an MFA from University of Tennessee- Knoxville (‘22) and a BFA from Montana State University (‘16.) Between degrees, she assisted at Frogman’s Print Workshops in Omaha, NE and was a postgraduate apprentice at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia. She has been awarded residencies with Print Arts Northwest (Portland, OR), Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw, Poland, and the Morgan Paper Conservatory (Cleveland, OH.) She has participated in multiple print exchanges, including organizing a fabric-based quilt print exchange, and has shown internationally. Based out of Helena, Muriel works at the Archie Bray investigating how ceramics and spun wool play a part in her practice. https://www.murielcondon.com/
Grace Waring: came to Helena in 2022. She studied art at Bard College and has lived and practiced art in New York, California, Rome, and Montana. Her mediums of choice include oil painting, drawing, and printmaking.