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Ones to Watch: Carrie Fell

Spotlighting the work of painter Carrie Fell

"Ghost Town" | Acrylic on Canvas | 12 x 24 inches | 2014 Private collection, photo: Jane Waggoner Deschner

Ones to Watch: Gordon McConnell

Spotlighting the work of painter Gordon McConnell

Written by Michele Corriel  

Michele Corriel

Other Contributions

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LaRue Mahlke Ones to Watch: Artist Crista Ann Ames Ones to Watch: Christopher Ries Ones to Watch: Mary Bechtol In the Studio: Richard Parish Ones to Watch: Florian Roeper Ones to Watch: Greg Kelsey Ones to Watch: Andrew Denman Ones to Watch: Sandra Pratt Ones to Watch: Jeff Williams Ones to Watch: Josh Clare Ones to Watch: Daniel Weaver Ones to Watch: Nora Naranjo-Morse Ones to Watch: Marela Zacarías Ones to Watch: Glenn Dean Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Ones to Watch: Artist Jinni Thomas Ones to Watch: Artist Karen Bezuidenhout Ones to Watch: Rory Egelus Ones to Watch: Ceramic Artist George McCauley Ones to Watch: Painter Rick Stevens Ones to Watch: Jon Dick Ones to Watch: Mixed-media Artist Christopher Owen Nelson Ones to Watch: Diana Tremaine Ones to Watch: Josh Elliot Ones to Watch: Doug Smith Ones to Watch: David Barrett Ones to Watch: Howard Knight Ones to Watch: Silas Thompson Ones to Watch: Kristine Allphin Ones to Watch: Chris Morel Ones to Watch: Sherry Salari Sander Ones to Watch: Alan Carr Ones to Watch: Robert Royhl Ones to Watch: Robert Seliger Ones to Watch: Karen Woods Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Ones to Watch: Artist Glendon Good Ones to Watch: Painter Deladier Almeida Ones to Watch: Sculptor Stephanie Revennaugh Ones to Watch: Painter Gregory Packard Ones to Watch: Randy Stromsoe Ones to Watch: Beth Loftin Ones to Watch: Dyani White Hawk Ones to Watch: David Bardwick Ones to Watch: Donna Gans Ones to Watch: Susan Jarecky Ones to Watch: Carrie Fell Ones to Watch: Rose Masterpol Ones to Watch: Bryan Peterson Ones to Watch: Terry Karson Ones to Watch: Lisa Ronay Ones to Watch: Tracy Leagjeld Perspective: Gennie DeWeese [1921-2007] Ones to Watch: Andrew Mann Ones to Watch: Bonnie Teitelbaum Illuminations: Ones to watch Perspective: Frances Senska [1914–2009] Ones to Watch: Artist Ralph Wiegmann Ones to Watch: Artchitect Candace Miller Ones to Watch: Architect George Gibson Ones to Watch: Architect Nick Deaver Ones to Watch: Sculptor Bale Creek Allen Ones to Watch: Painter Brianne Janes Ones to Watch: Danae Bennett Miller Ones to Watch: Mark Edward Adams Ones to Watch: Josh Chandler Ones to Watch: Tony Abeyta Ones to Watch: Robert Spooner Marcus Ones to Watch: Ken Andrews Ones to Watch: Michael Kessler Ones to Watch: Jim Dayton Ones to Watch: Rahnee Gladwin Ones to Watch: Geoffrey Warner Ones to Watch: Gwen Samuels Ones to Watch: Kensuke Yamada Ones to Watch: Michael Greenspan Ones to Watch: Chuck Middlekauff Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Ones to Watch: Sculptor Carol Alleman Ones to Watch: Artist Kathleen Dunphy Ones to Watch: Jeweler Jesse Monongye Ones to Watch: Michael Ross Ones to Watch: Furniture maker Charise Buckley Ones to Watch: Sculptor Charles Ringer Ones to Watch: David Slonim Ones to Watch: Catherine Courtenaye Ones to Watch: Ironworker Ted Docteur Ones to Watch: Evert Sodergren Ones to Watch: Jacquelyn Bischak Ones to Watch: Guilloume Ones to Watch: David Coffin Ones to Watch: Francis Di Fronzo Ones to Watch: Jeff Pugh Ones to Watch: Geoff Parker Ones to Watch: Troy Collins Ones to Watch: Dean Mabe Ones to Watch: Shelley Muzylowski Allen Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Ones to Watch: Architect Tim Belton Ones to Watch: Anne Moore Ones to Watch: Painter Flavia Eckholm Ones to Watch: Clive Tyler Ones to Watch: Weaver Cheryl Samuel Ones to Watch: Painter Gavin Brooks Ones to Watch: Tracy Leagjeld Ones to Watch: Jared Sanders Ones to Watch: Shawna Moore Ones to Watch: Aleta Pippin Ones to Watch: Rene Gibson Ones to Wacth Ones to Watch: Mike Krupnick Ones to Watch: Matt Smith Ones to Watch: Stacy Robinson Ones to Watch: Dean L. Mitchell Ones to Watch: Kirsten Kainz Ones to Watch: Susan von Borstel Ones to Watch: Craig Bergsgaard Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Ones to Watch: La Puerta Originals Ones to Watch: Artist David Patchen Ones to Watch: Architect Aaron Kang-Crosby of Spore Architecture Ones to Watch: Frank Marquette Ones to Watch: Architect Susan Desko Ones to Watch: Sculptor Tammy Bality Ones to Watch: Suzanne Wallace Mears Ones to Watch: Clare Walton Ones to Watch: Mike Medow Ones to Watch: Leon Loughridge Ones to Watch: Eric Cobb Ones to Watch: Greg Madeen Ones to Watch: Mary Baxter Ones to Watch: Julia Lucich Ones to Watch: Kevin and Val Pourier Ones to Watch: Marc Hanson Ones to Watch: Preston Singletary Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Ones to Watch: Artist Allen Garns Ones to Watch: Jill Zeidler Ones to Watch: Painter Luke Stavrowsky Ones to Watch: Bill Poss Ones to Watch: Britt Freda Ones to Watch: Painter Cesar Santos Ones to Watch: Troy Collins Ones to Watch: Bryan Christiansen Ones to Watch: Henry Jackson Ones to Watch: Simon Gudgeon Ones to Watch: Gordon McConnell Ones to Watch: Hadley Rampton Ones to Watch: Olivia Pendergast Ones to Watch: Kevin DesPlanques Ones to Watch: Jamie Kirkland Ones to Watch: Brian Scott Ones to Watch: Kyle Polzin Ones to Watch: Ben Pease Ones to Watch: Julie Gustafson Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Collector’s Eye: Native American folk art collector Bruce VanLandingham
December 2015 | January 2016


Gordon McConnell drops us into iconic images and leaves us there to find our own way home. Through the shorthand of old Western films, he twists a contemporary narrative across the weft of historical promise. In the reflection of a haunted nostalgia, McConnell allows us to redefine our own frontiers.

“I started in an expressionistic mode and moved toward illustration-like expression,” McConnell says. “I love movies, living in Montana and being in the shadow of Charlie Russell, not rejecting him the way most Modernists did.”

With his mainly monochromatic palette, McConnell plays with contrast, shadow, resolution and mystery as well as suggesting a continuity of history by means of archetypal images.

“I’ve tried to update the Old West through exploration of the classic Western films,” he says. “It also revisits my childhood — when we first got the black-and-white TV, it influenced everything. I was primed from an early age to follow the course of art that I have.”

Intrigued by the layering of Postmodern themes with the timelessness of place that is often experienced in the West, McConnell contrasts our national myths with the sense of loss that comes with self-awareness. “The Western is our national drama,” he says. “The subjects of the films are great subjects, as grand and tragic as any in the world.”

In one of his more recent pieces, Ghost Town, he creates movement in a still object. With a nod to Eadweard Muybridge — who was the first to capture the image of a moving horse with a photograph, documenting all four legs off the ground when galloping — the Richter-type blur in McConnell’s work represents that kind of motility. 

“I was just revisiting the Westerns of the 1950s and that particular image is from Samuel Fuller’s Forty Guns, a version of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral saga,” McConnell says. “He has a scene in the film where a thug is terrorizing a town. The Wyatt Earp character tracks him down and the thug is stopped in his tracks. I dug up that image and it stuck in my head. I started painting from the photographic still. I carefully painted the buildings on the left, working on the background, I left the figure unfinished. As I developed the right side, I began to appreciate the void the figure left there. I discovered the resonance of leaving the figure as a vacant silhouette.”

But it’s not just vacant. It suggests a human presence, as well as a feeling of lost innocence. It presents us with another version of the story, another take on living in the shadow of legends. 

McConnell’s work resides in several permanent collections including the Churchill Arts Council in Fallon, Nevada; Missoula Art Museum in Missoula, Montana; Whitney Western Art Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming; and the Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings, Montana. 

He is represented by Broschofsky Galleries in Ketchum, Idaho; Carbon County Arts Guild and Depot Gallery in Red Lodge, Montana; Catherine Louisa Gallery in Billings, Montana; g2 Gallery in Mesa, Arizona; Stremmel Gallery in Reno, Nevada; Visions West Gallery in Bozeman and Livingston, Montana, and Denver, Colorado.

Gordon McConnell

"Ride, Boldly Ride" | Acrylic on Canvas | 16 x 20 inches | 2015