Tinworks Art Announces 2024 Exhibition Season, The Lay of the Land

Bozeman — This June, Tinworks Art will open its 2024 season, The Lay of the Land, featuring a major new ecological artwork by Agnes Denes and work by five artists inspired by the land of the American West: James Castle, Layli Long Soldier, Lucy Raven, Stephen Shore, and Robbie Wing. Tinworks will also host artist-in-residence Wills Brewer, continuing the non-profit art organization’s mission to support the creation of new work on site, offering artists the opportunity to expand their practice in experimental ways.

“Being new to Bozeman and the Mountain West, I developed my inaugural season at Tinworks while discovering the communities, cultures, and landscape of the region,” explains director Jenny Moore. “Learning about this land historically and geologically was the inspiration to bring together artists whose work is connected to the region and who contend with the land of the west in revelatory ways.”

With an intergenerational mix of established and emerging artists, iconic work and newly commissioned installations, The Lay of the Land explores how land in the west is represented. The artworks included connect to land and place through their physical materiality—wheat, sediment, soot, clay, the sound of passing trains—and subject matter—the natural or industrial forces that have shaped the land of the west and depictions of western places shaped by memory or technology.

Agnes Denes’ new ecological work Wheatfield—An Inspiration. The seed is in the ground, serves as the touchstone of the season’s program. By repurposing the fallow land of Tinwork’s field with a stand of wheat that will grow through the summer and be harvested and processed into flour in the fall, Denes recenters a presence iconic to Montana, one that has shaped the land, the economy, the culture, and the future of the region. Expanding upon her iconic public artwork, Wheatfield—A Confrontation from 1982, Denes’ new Wheatfield—An Inspiration situates the substantial land at Tinworks’ site as a dynamic place to engage issues of current land use and value, encouraging community connections through an invitation by the artist for anyone inspired to plant wheat in fallow land in solidarity with her Wheatfield at Tinworks.

In Tinworks’ warehouse space, artists Lucy Raven, Stephen Shore, and James Castle consider the land of the west through distinct material or technical processes and perspectives. Over the last fifteen years, Lucy Raven has examined the forces of pressure, industry, and material transformations that mark the Southwest and Mountain West regions of America in moving image installations, photo works, drawings, and sculpture. Akin to the artists’ shadowgrams, which record on photosensitive paper the impact of force and debris from munition charges, Raven’s recent Depositions employ the displacement of physical material to capture a likeness of the west. Through the recreation of a dam break in a plumbed, steel and wood container lined with silk, displaced sediment embeds into the surface of the sheer fabric, preserving the dynamic force as layers of material formed like monumental peaks and valleys iconic to western landscapes. The resulting “paintings” evoke the dramatic representations of an idealized West by classical 19th century painters like Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran. Picking up a theme prevalent in her series of related moving image installations titled The Drumfire, the luminous landscapes in Depositions demonstrate how material that endures cycles of pressure can build up, be released, and literally turn “land into landscape.”

Since the 1970s, Stephen Shore has been capturing quotidian scenes that have defined the American experience, both beautiful and banal, and revolutionized color photography as an art form. After a move to Montana in the 1980s, Shore began familiarizing himself with the surrounding land so that he could have “perceptions about it,” before creating images that illuminate the material difference between land and sky. Forty years later, in the height of the pandemic, Shore returned to a consideration of the Montana landscape, taking advantage of the technological possibilities of a drone-mounted Hasselblad camera in order to present a new perspectival approach to photographing land that he “absolutely loves.” The resulting series of images, titled Topographies: Aerial Surveys of the American Landscape, shot in Montana (and a handful of other places including New York and North Carolina) present views not possible from a terrestrial perspective. From this vantage point Shore reveals the friction of distinct adjacencies found in the American West, where the natural world meets the impact of human presence, demonstrating the idiosyncratic relationships, compositional complexity, and revelatory moments of beauty in land altered by humans and industry.

As a self-taught artist in a rural agricultural community, James Castle used materials at hand—soot from a woodstove, repurposed paper and cardboard, sharpened sticks and pencils—in the creation of an extraordinary body of work documenting the land and landscapes, buildings and structures, and interior and metaphysical spaces of the world around him. The selected drawings on view at Tinworks are grouped around four subject areas: the mountains surrounding his family home in Garden Valley, Idaho, where Castle spent the early part of his life; the family homestead in Garden Valley, depicted from several viewpoints and set within a variety of landscapes; the approach into and details of a paneled attic storeroom; and an interior space with distinctly patterned wallpaper. Drawn primarily from his memory, Castle’s works reveal a vast amount of information, nuance, and sensitivity. His introspective explorations of past environments and experiences through drawings, paper constructions, abstractions, handmade books, and bundled assemblages carry deep emotional resonance and convey the artist’s unique interconnection of nature, memory, consciousness, perception, and wonder.

A newly commissioned sound work by Robbie Wing engages the presence of another force that dramatically shaped the west—the railroad. The sound of trains carrying material for the Burlington Northern Railroad is a daily presence at the Tinworks’ site due to the proximity of the railways that border Bozeman’s northeast neighborhood. Over the past few months, Wing has taken field recordings of the passing trains for the creation of a site-specific sound installation composed of abandoned

railroad ties pulled out of the Tinworks’ field in preparation for planting Denes’ Wheatfield. Working with vibrational histories—the idea that the physical nature of sound can be frozen in time and the frequency elicited from inert material can act as a living entity that has agency—Wing will mix the field recordings with the vibration of acoustically placed speakers and microphones, pulling the frequencies back through the wooden ties to create their own song. “The physicality of sound can tell historical narratives,” Wing explains. “The railroad alters the landscape of many places across the U.S. and especially Montana. My question is, do I know how to listen to a landscape and what is it trying to tell me?”

Two works by Layli Long Soldier, one installed on the façade of a former grain storage building at Tinworks and one situated on the concrete slab at the center of the site, on view since their commission for the 2023 Tinworks’ exhibition Invisible Prairie, highlight lines from Long Soldier’s published poems. Day Poem: Sun Mirrors is a multi-dimensional exploration of Indigenous identity, cultural memory, and the interplay between language and landscape. Her lightbox sculpture, using material reclaimed from a former RV park and café on the Gallatin River, recontextualizes the poet’s experience during her annual solstice trip back to her Lakota homeland to speak more broadly for the diverse communities grappling with the rapid changes of the new American West. At a time when the fertile fields and rolling foothills of the Gallatin Valley around Bozeman are being lost to development and rapid urbanization, Long Soldier’s declaration “I don’t trust nobody but the land” could speak for many of us.

Artist in Residence

This summer Tinworks continues its program of hosting artists on site to conduct research and develop new work. Wills Brewer hand builds ceramic vessels whose forms are based on earth building techniques and traditional brick making the artist learned in the U.S. and Europe. Often made of wild clay, the works are also inspired by Agnes Martin’s repetitive, meditative mark making and her own forays into earthen construction at her home and studio in New Mexico. Brewer will explore the possibility of constructing, firing, and inhabiting a large-scale clay dwelling on the Tinworks’ site.

More information on the artists can be found at tinworksart.org.

Public Programs

Roots in the Sky, July 6 and 7. Montana’s premier chamber choir, Roots in the Sky presents performances of historical and contemporary choral works throughout the region. The group will partner with Tinworks for a two-night presentation of Scott Ordway’s The End of Rain.

Isabel Shaida, July 13 through September 4. Movement artist and community organizer Isabel Shaida will host free workshops for adults and families on the Six Viewpoints by Montana choreographer Mary Overlie, culminating in public performances on September 7 and 14.

Montana InSite Theater, September 21 and 22. In “Stories under the Land,” Montana InSite Theater will present dramatic performances, poetry, and songs that showcase ancient traditions about agriculture, with a special focus on the Demeter and Persephone story from Greek mythology. These timeless tales engage with the earth’s cycles of fertility, seasonal shifts, and what it means to expect the land to produce sustenance for us all.

Family and Community Programming, June 15 through October 19. Tinworks’ free family and education programming includes daily drop-in activities in our Family and Community Space, summer art camps, family resources, workshops for adults and children, monthly film screenings, and a variety of poetry, storytelling, and creative events. Specific activities with a focus on Agnes Denes’ Wheatfield—An Inspiration. The seed is in the ground include tending, harvesting, processing, and communal eating gatherings. Tinworks offers free exhibition tours and accompanying activities for area schools, clubs, and social groups. Please email angela.yonke@tinworksart.org for more information.


Tinworks’ 2024 season is made possible with generous support from The Director’s Council, and SAV Digital Environments in Bozeman.


A special thanks to our partners: Abundant Montana; Anderson School; Bozeman Public Library; Gallatin Valley Farm to School; Gallatin Valley Food Bank; KGVM; KGLT; Montana Science Center; MSU, College of Art and Architecture; MSU, Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology; MSU, Hilleman Scholars; The Extreme History Project; and Wild Crumb Bakery.

About Tinworks Art

Tinworks Art is a new non-profit art space in Bozeman, Montana. It is a place where contemporary art connects with the American West by weaving together its complex landscape, stories, experiences, and cultures. Tinworks makes possible art engagement in non-traditional spaces, enriching the cultural and social fabric of greater Bozeman and the Mountain West. In 2022, Tinworks Art committed to a permanent home to deepen connections between artists and audiences, and to center art in this time of change.