By DG HOUSE, Sponsored by S.L.A.M.
TOUR SCHEDULE: 2023 – 2026
1. Missoula Art Museum, Missoula, MT – January 6 – March 31, 2023
2. Arts Council of Big Sky, Big Sky, MT – June 18 – August 13, 2023
3. Hockaday Museum of Art, Kalispell, MT – January 5 – March 29, 2024
4. Carbon County Arts Guild & Depot Gallery, Red Lodge, MT – May 6 – June 22, 2024
5. MonDak Heritage Center, Sidney, MT – October 1, 2025 – January 7, 2026
As part of the 150th Anniversary of Yellowstone’s induction as the first National Park, DG House has had the honor of being an Artist-in-Residence for Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. In addition, she has received an ARPA Grant from the Montana Arts Council to complete 20 new paintings during her residency that capture the wonder and majesty of the local ecosystem. In That Still Moment: DG House, Contemporary Native Artist will consist of these 20 paintings. SLAM and DG House offer this exhibition to MAGDA members first, available from January 2023- December 2025.
Though DG House is a member of the Cherokee NE Alabama tribe, since moving to Montana she has primarily focused on capturing the wonder and majesty of Yellowstone wildlife. Simultaneously, she pays homage to Indigenous people of the past and present through native symbolism and pattern references.
In her signature style, House’s depictions of Rocky Mountain wildlife and First Peoples are vibrant, welcoming, and charming. By applying multiple layers of water-based oil, acrylics, pastels, and colored pencils, House produces the energetic colors and depth that make her characters rich with personality.However, there is a duality to her depictions: though her palette is vivid and her subjects are approachable, there is a daunting power and keen awareness in the expressions of the characters. While the viewer may gaze upon a rabbit, buffalo, horse, or wolf, the simple strokes and shapes that form the eyes evoke the sense that these animals are gazing back at the viewer from their canvas cage. House’s portfolio is a reminder of the fragility and intricacy of the local environment, and the local histories, that we must preserve and protect.
According to House: As an Indigenous creative, I’ve made it my job to produce art that represents the wildlife and people who don’t often have a voice in our society. I spend a large part of my time with wildlife in the wildlands. Inspiration is everywhere in my world.
The exhibition title “In That Still Moment” refers to the moment that this awareness is most present: when one suddenly comes across wildlife or a beautiful vista. Suddenly, everything else seems to fall away, all conversation stops, and we are caught in that instant, aware of the magnitude and power of nature. As House states: After twenty-seven years as a painter, I’ve never run out of ideas. Each piece I create is based on a real-life encounter with perhaps a grizzly walking on a trail, a wolf hunting in a valley, or a moose feeding in the river. Whatever the interaction, each painting is a story.
The perimeter of House’s paintings are often lined with her trademark geometric borders. Though this element is partially for composition and color placement, the main function of the border is to honor Indigenous ancestors. The patterns are reminiscent of the designs used on Native American par flèche; traditional rawhide pouches used for storage and transporting items. In addition, House’s color palette is based on the Earthen paints created by the First Peoples of the Northern Rocky Mountains from local soils, flora, and other resources.
Looking deeper, there is personal meaning behind many of her compositions. In almost every painting, the moon and the sun loom in the background, reminding viewers that every human is small in the larger schemes of the planets and the universe. This humility is palpable in House’s paintings. In Prayers from Heart’s Deep Core, House’s first painting after she finished chemotherapy, the ominous crowns in mid-flight symbolize personal liberation and perseverance through trauma. When We Walk and As We Walk discuss the communal movement of people and the simple beauty of a stride in the open wilderness.
For DG, every painting is a story, a lesson, and an homage to those who came before her: The challenge and joy marry in the studio. I’m aware of what I’m putting into the world and the message I’m presenting. Every artist is an educator. As a native artist, I believe I have my personal ancestors and all people who came before in my workspace with me. My heart beats a little faster every time I walk through the door of my studio. I never take my career and opportunities to make art for granted. What I feel is lucky me.