Jerry Rankin, Fenceline, powdered graphite on paper.
Jerry Rankin is one of Montana’s most significant living artists, and the Missoula Art Museum is honored to present this intimate exhibition of works selected from the MAM Collection. Rankin was mentored by two of the titans in Montana’s early Modernists art movement: Rudy Autio in high school and Robert DeWeese at Montana State University. Rankin went on to earn his MFA from the University of Montana. During the course of his decades-long career as an artist, Rankin has developed a distinct visual language; his endless curiosity and investigation of the natural world through his studio practice continue today.
From the Inside Out is an exhibition of seven charcoal drawings collected from his 2002 exhibition at MAM titled New Works. A counterpoint to the vibrant color and trembling energy of Rankin’s more well-known paintings and prints, these drawings are contemplative and understated. The images are meditations on the land, specifically contemplating the physical borders both natural and human-made. Rankin states, “A person can’t spend any time in Montana without noticing the special importance of boundaries—the line where one field meets another, the line between a river and the landscape it bisects, the line between the land and the sky.” These visual edges are metaphors Rankin uses to explore metaphysical boundaries. The drawings are dark with gradual value shifts. Ghostly forms are revealed through erasure on the dark charcoal ground, evocative of moonlight at night or heavy fog at dawn. Viewers are left to resolve the mystery themselves.