By Ron VandenBoom
The view is almost surrealistic and its easy for the spectator to get the sense of being suspended in a twilight zone between the past and future.
Great Falls artist Brian Morger has deliberately tried to combine these two diverse eras and styles of art in his most recent showing at the Heritage Center Millennium Musings and Pictographs.
They depict and are renderings of my feelings of entering a new age, a new millennium in time, Morger said Saturday. It contrasts an era in which all they produced was of a spiritual nature to today when most things created and produced are of a technological influence.
About half of the 19 works Morger decided to exhibit at the show are representations of actual pictographs he has seen in his travels throughout the western states. Others are created from his own imagination. Both are shown with stone-like backgrounds that Morger created to add realism to the work.
Morger said he believes that while some of the original pictographs he has seen were religious or spiritual in nature, others were like modern day graffiti that was probably done by ancient artists just wanting to say look, were here.
In contrast to the contemporary pictographic representations of mans ancestors is Morgers more modern view of a new high-tech millennium in works like, Mars Calling. An interpretation of the rock structure on Mars that from several angles looks like a face.
Many of the modern works use common every day items Morger found in his garage or in the trash. Some of them are artistic in their own right or have been made artistic by Morgers hand.
Millennium Musings and Pictographs is all part of what Morger sees as a need to break away from the traditional representational art he is best known for and involve himself more completely in sculpture and contemporary impressionistic art.
Morger first began painting when he was 12 and in the last few years, he said, he had found that he had to evolve and really get his hands dirty and start working three dimensionally or walk away from it.
He describes the effort as almost like making a mud pie.
My other work is traditional and requires so much technical skill, I have to be an architect, I have to be a weatherman, I have to be a real renaissance individual, he said. With this I can kind of go into a mode where an almost childlike mind takes over and I know that its coming out of a creative spirit.
There is a certain amount of fear in Morgers transition from traditional to impressionistic art.
People in our society want artists to render traditional art accurately so they can put it on their walls, he said. If we step away from that we can be ostracized.
Morger has operated a successful art business out of Great Falls for years doing TV commercials and offering Christmas paintings and limited editions to the general public.
He describes this kind of art as his bread and butter, but the need to create his greatest work, to discover the next horizon, and break into new ground appears to Morger to be the driving force that eggs him on.
Several works currently in production at his studio in Great Falls need to be completed by the end of the years so, at least for a time, Morger can find a new direction. He plans a two-year sabbatical where, as he describes it, he will hit the road with his brush and a back pack.
Millennium Musings and Pictographs will be on display at the Heritage Center Gallery through June and there is no admission charge to view Morgers latest creations.
Summer hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day of the week.