Hadley Ferguson: Letting the Big Sky shine in 'New Works'

Cory Walsh

A full landscape doesn’t require a large canvas.

In Hadley Ferguson’s newest works, she condenses evocative scenes, often the rolling hills and outsized skies of western Montana, into half a foot square.

“To actually paint it is more intimate,” the Missoula artist said. “It’s almost more meditative than the big ones.”

Her medium requires her to think quickly, since acrylic, a plastic-based paint, dries faster than oil. (She’s allergic to some of the chemicals contained in oil-based paint.)

The largest ones in the show are 2 feet wide, and that particular sensation she gets begins to disappear at that scale.

“I start to lose my ability to get that intimate feeling,” she said. These are a way to emphasize the light, and let it “shine out, and I think it does it better.”  

The “New Works” exhibition at Radius emphasizes the intimate side. Many are 6-by-6 inches, but the style is similar to the murals for which she’s known.

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Ferguson, who has multiple system atrophy, a form of Parkinson’s disease that affects the nervous system, painted all of these lap-sized acrylics on board.

“I did this whole show out

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