Billings artist Gordon McConnell taps into the movies of Hollywood’s Golden age as inspiration for his paintings and multi-media pieces.
He also uses some iconic Western images in his artwork, like stagecoaches and bison.
“I love those animals, and I love going through the Lamar Valley. I’ve had experiences being out on those roads even at night and driving into a bison herd on the road and listening to their stomachs rumbling. It’s quite a wonderful experience.”
McConnell credits films he enjoyed as a child for artistic inspiration, like "Stagecoach,” which was released in 1939 and starred John Wayne.
He says he’s also interested in gender roles, and films like that are formative. They play into a rough-and-tumble, down-and-dirty type of masculinity, where gunfighters swaggered into saloons or ran from the law.
The Northcutt Steele Gallery at Montana State University Billings has featured McConnell’s art in an exhibit called "When the West Was Won" since late September. It closes Thursday afternoon.