November 12, 2021-May 22, 2022
Born in Helena, Montana, Gary Schildt grew up on his grandfather’s ranch on the edge of the Rocky Mountains on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation near Browning, Montana. He first became interested in painting as a child and in high school decided to pursue it as a career. Although he worked in a variety of media, including paint and bronze, he consistently focused on the American Indian as his subject. His many scenes of everyday life on the Reservation reflect his deeply felt understanding of humanity in general and the lives of the Indians and the West in particular. Of Blackfeet ancestry, Schildt’s unswerving approach to creating art was to look for personally meaningful topics – topics which are “holes” other artists avoid or don’t perceive to be compelling subjects.
The Sun Dance Series a 42-painting series about the Blackfeet Medicine Lodge Ceremony, created by the artist between 1995 and 1997. In his own words, his vision “has been to somehow fuse all the written works, old photos, ceremonies, and the Blackfeet people into one big collection of new light, color and dimension. To bring life to the fading dream I had so long ago, I have tried to present the Sun Dance in its entirety.” The Medicine Lodge Ceremony, or Sun Dance, is a great annual religious festival and the highest expression of the Blackfeet religion. At the beginning of the 20th century, in response to the many efforts by whites to discourage this celebration, the Blackfeet moved it to July 4th to coincide with Independence Day. It is still celebrated on the Blackfeet Reservation.