P O W E L L, W y o. - "THEME&VARIATION," a multi-media exhibit by Billings artist Jon Lodge, opens at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23, with an artist's reception in Northwest Gallery on the Northwest College campus. In addition to his appearance at the reception, Lodge will also give a public presentation the following morning at 10 a.m.
Lodge's work in the visual arts dates back to about 1994. His passion for the avant garde nature of jazz runs back in time to the 1960s when he studied jazz performance and composition at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass. The two disciplines tend to merge in his art.
He incorporates many everyday nontraditional materials into what he calls "conjoined systems, concepts and processes first practiced early in the 20th century." To illustrate his point, Lodge says he co-mingles principle concepts of improvisational jazz and surrealist thinking - automatism, freedom, haphazardness and unconsciousness - with the radical simplicity of minimalist, machine-manufactured unity. He calls the result an "array of instant visual information in a language and vocabulary never before encountered."
Appropriating freely from the past in pursuit of new materials and ideas, Lodge says the list of major influences in his work includes Miles Davis, Donald Judd, Andy Warhol, Richard Serra, John Cage, John Coltrane, Antoni Tapes, Cy Twombly and Robert Ryman.
In describing Lodge's work, fellow Montana artist Gordon McConnell said, "In his amalgamation of ambience, sensibility and enthusiasm Jon Lodge is simultaneously discovering and inventing a new kind of beauty."
Lodge will offer more insight into the creative process involved in his art from 10 a.m.-noon Wednesday, Oct. 24, in the Trapper Room of the DeWitt Student Center on campus. His presentation is free and open to the public.
"THEME&VARIATION" is displayed through Friday, Nov. 16, in Northwest Gallery. Located in the Cabre Building, the gallery is open from 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission is free.