Painter George Gogas had the idea for his Western-meets-modernism series in 1987 for a showing at the Missoula Art Museum. It was an exhibition on Western imagery, and Gogas, a dedicated, MFA-holding modernist, was a little stumped.
“I thought, ‘What can I do that wouldn’t be really, really realistic and corny or whatever, about Western art?’ ” Gogas said earlier this week.
He imagined a stylistic mashup of Charlie Russell’s action-filled vistas with Pablo Picasso’s flattened cubist planes. The painting was accepted and the largest part of his career was formed – he estimates there are more than 50 now.
To celebrate his long career, including decades as an art teacher and even more as an artist, Gogas has been selected as the 2016 honoree for “The Odyssey of the Stars” at the University of Montana. To accompany Saturday’s ceremony, there’s also a 40-year survey of Gogas’ art at the Montana Museum of Art and Culture’s Meloy Gallery.