Dazzling orange flowers bursting across their Plexiglas ‘canvas.’ 

Three disgruntled, white-haired men in gray suits and brown hats stand beside a dry well arguing and finger-pointing.

Golden aspen trees glow in autumn light in the Lamar Valley.

A sinuous, curving, green stoneware basket-vase with graceful lines that soar upwards.

These are just a few of the arresting art pieces made by 70 regional artists in the Holter Museum of Art’s 25th anniversary auction exhibit, many of them by nationally acclaimed artists.

The 25th Anniversary Art Auction is 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, June 15, at the Gateway Center. The theme of the Holter’s largest annual fundraiser is the Year of the Dragon, echoing back to the dramatic opening exhibits in January. The gala features Asian fare created by Mountain Thyme caterers, wine, jazz and entertainment by a local ballet troupe.

As expected, this year’s art has something for every taste and pocketbook.

“I could take all of them home,” admitted curator Yvonne Seng, while giving a tour of the exhibit.

“Several people gave special pieces from their collections,” she said. “Some, like Richard Pence used it as an excuse to get back in the studio.

“Nancy Erickson pulled out a piece from 2001, “Backrub Interrupted,” showing a bear — in orange, yellow and blue oil stick — rolling playfully on its back and suddenly looking the viewer in the eye.

“This is a beautiful, beautiful piece by Poo Putsch,” said Seng, of a brown winter landscape awaiting spring.

There’s also the whimsical.

Kurt Keller’s “Altered Realities” photo, “The Day I Found the Idea Tree,” that depicts a giant tree at dusk aglow with shimmering, golden light bulb globes.

And George Gogas’ flamboyant, lively abstract painting “Judith Basin Encounter When Pablo and Charlie Realize They Were Part of the 99%” with Pablo Picasso and Charlie Russell dressed as cowboys on electric-techno colored horses, with one tumbling headfirst into the equally flamboyant landscape.

A ledger art piece, “He Gives His Arrows Away” by Monte Yellow Bird portrays a brilliantly bedecked warrior galloping his pinto across a Fargo, N.D., ledger sheet c. 1928.

There’s also the peaceful and serene — such as Nancy MacDonald’s still life, “Aluminum Connection,” of beloved old-fashioned coffee pots, tea kettles and other kitchen items.

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“Three Pears Escape” by Genise Park is just that — pears liberated from a nearby basket basking in their beauty.

And a Jim Todd woodcut portrait of Mahatma Gandhi in reflection.

Shaking media up, Kurt Weiser, particularly known locally for his ceramic art, has donated a print of a furry batlike creature feasting on exotic fruits.

Painter Ted Waddell created a ceramic sculpture of a dog, one of the heroes in the children’s books he writes.

Among the ceramic items is a luscious white porcelain covered bowl with cobalt inlay design created by Steven Young Lee, resident director of the Archie Bray Foundation.

Missoula artist Beth Lo contributed four cups, each with a distinctive face gazing back at you.

Prices range from $50 to $4,000 and the items are on display through June 13. There will also be an online auction component in place by June 1. Tickets are $75 for members, $100 for nonmembers or $600 for a table for eight. Tickets are available at the Holter or online at holtermuseum.org.

Money raised goes toward exhibits, education and general operations of the Holter.

The Holter is located at 12 E. Lawrence, 442-6400. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sunday noon to 4 p.m.


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