Myths & metaphors: New UM exhibit celebrates works of Stephanie Frostad

“House of Hidden Blessings” by Stephanie Frostad. (Chris Autio photo)

A new exhibition showcasing the works of Missoula artist Stephanie Frostad will open at the Montana Museum of Art & Culture at the University of Montana on Thursday, Feb. 28.

An opening reception will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. that day in the Montana Museum of Art & Culture’s Paxson Gallery in the Performing Arts and Radio/Television Center at UM. The exhibition will run through June 15.

Through works spanning her career, the exhibition spans Frostad’s creative concern with myths and metaphors brought to life as pictorial realism. The storytelling tradition is vital to her mission: to create a truly democratic art.

“As a narrative painter,” Frostad says, “my objective is to present the essential elements of a story.”

Frostad builds pictures that are sometimes joyful, sometimes mysterious, uncanny and even dark. In her most arresting works, the viewer is struck with a prevailing sense that a pivotal event is looming or has just taken place. Ultimately, Frostad said she is moved by the response her pictures bring about in her viewers, as they respond with their own stories.

“With careful measures of clarity and ambiguity, I hope to create imaginative space for viewers to bring their own perspectives and experiences into the tale,” she said.

In her recent works, Frostad uses graphite to lend her stories a supernatural yet universal quality most closely associated with fables. Her fascination with traditions and myths is befitting her longstanding inquiry into identity, relationships, community and place.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Frostad will present a gallery talk at 5:15 p.m. Thursday, April 4, in the PAR/TV Center lobby.

MMAC’s gallery hours run from noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and it is closed Sundays, Mondays and UM holidays. The museum is open to the public with a suggested $5 donation. Docent tours are available, although advance notice is recommended.