This April, Cassens Fine Art welcomes Keister back with a new online collection titled “Legacy of the Land,” in partnership with the Bitter Root Land Trust, highlighting the unique landscapes of the Bitterroot Valley - the place we call home.

 

A light reception will take place on Friday, April 26th from 3:30-5:30 pm to share the collection with the community and supporters of the bitter root land trust.

 


 

This past November, renowned Montana-based artist Lois Keister invited the Bitterroot Valley community to experience the history and lore of the West through her evocative kiln glass art in her exhibition, “A Love Letter to the West.” After reading about her passion for the west, especially Montana’s working ranches and agriculture,  and viewing her work up close at the reception, the Bitter Root Land Trust was captivated by the way Keister and her living artifacts embody the sweat and faith of generations who carved out a life in the West’s rugged landscapes.

 

This April, Cassens Fine Art welcomes Keister back with a new online collection titled “Legacy of the Land,” in partnership with the Bitter Root Land Trust, highlighting the unique landscapes of the Bitterroot Valley - the place we call home. 

 

“As soon as I read about Lois’s inspiration behind 'A Love Letter to the West,' I knew right off the bat we had to meet her,” said Stephanie Sipe, BRLT Communications and Outreach Manager. “Her anecdotes and artwork invoked a feeling that we at the Land Trust are so fortunate to experience every single day through working with our valley’s landowners and our community who share an irreplaceable love for this land and this place, along with the local families we have the honor of working with to protect our valley's water, wildlife, and working lands. We couldn’t be more excited for this collaboration and for Lois to tell the story of some of the Bitterroot's conserved multigenerational family ranches through her beautiful art.”

 

The inspiration behind each of the pieces in this collection is derived from local landmarks and cherished homesteads that symbolize the importance of protecting the wide-open spaces and places we love, to maintain the integrity of our beloved Bitterroot Valley and the peace it offers for generations to come. From Bass Creek Ranch to Flying E Ranch in Stevensville to Trexler Ranch in Corvallis, and down to Paddock Ranch in Darby, each of these pieces features scenes of open landscapes, barns, trails, waterways, and ways of life, aiming to serve as a reminder that the work of the Bitter Root Land Trust isn’t just to ensure a lasting legacy for landholders, but for everyone.

 

“It amazes me who is touched by my work, and even more so when they see my medium as a way to help tell their own stories,” said Keister. “I hesitate to name a specific piece as a favorite, but the inspiration I was most drawn to is the history of photographs the Land Trust provided me with,” said Keister. “To see familiar places drawn out from the past, knowing that I am in a lucky line of generations to see these places, is something I hold very dear. Part of the inspiration too, was the feeling of wanting to crown the places we love with glowing laurels - to show them how I see them. The colors of the Bitterroot Valley are unique, especially that cool tone blue-violet in the evening.”

 

Keister hopes that the pieces she has created for this collection will bring a new admiration to the Bitterroot’s cherished landscapes from people who may not have seen them before - that they spark an ongoing conversation. “I hope that these pieces bring back fond memories viewers have of the Bitterroot Valley and that they share them with others,” she added.

 

Keister believes that art has the power to raise awareness for causes such as protecting the valley’s open spaces, beauty, economic vitality, and quality of life. “Art in itself is a way of creating a permanent moment - a solid and unchanging image of an ever-changing place. I believe that seeing the love and affection of an artist, and then an art collector for a specific place, is a way of bringing attention to those places to a new group of people,” explains Keister.

 

“How many of us have become enamored by a foreign place after seeing a single image or painting? We don't have to even lace-up boots, throw on a pack, and trek to be taken to those places. The artist can bring those places to them, and hopefully bring much-needed attention to keeping them safe.”

 

Keister reminds us of an Edward Abbey quote that speaks to the necessity of keeping our places safe: “Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.”

 

“Our quality of life and economy is directly related to maintaining our wild places, without them we would just be another stretch of bumpy Montana highway, and if I can be even a small part of keeping those wonderful places alive and cared for, I am a happy woman.”

 


 

To learn more about the Bitter Root Land Trust, visit bitterrootlandtrust.org or follow BRLT on Facebook @bitter.root.land.trust and Instagram @bitterrootlandtrust.

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