Through her style of unblended mark-making, Montana creates acrylic paintings depicting landscapes of belonging. A member of both artist and software developer communities, Montana is curious about why we place limitations on ourselves to belong. The more we dive into experiences unexpected for our communities, the more we realize the lines we draw for ourselves are blurred.
In her pieces, Montana visually investigates a tension between loose, chaotic imperfection and a cohesive composition. She’ll always remember prof. Ayana Evans telling her that a good painting looks just as interesting up close as it does far away. She spends time close to the canvas making small marks and subtle color shifts, while also taking time to stand back and make decisions for larger moves. Limited color palettes gel the marks created by her variety of tools: palette knives, brushes, crayons & pastels. In her layering process, she enjoys the boldness required to cover an old mark with a new one, often finding the boldest decisions have the best effect on the piece.
While Montana has felt the positive effects of being bold in her life, she also understands how vulnerability also builds strength. This led her to strive to create pieces with where honest marks form a cohesive image. When we find somewhere we belong, we can be vulnerable, loose and unfinished while also being bold, cohesive and strong. In her visual investigation into the limitations we place on ourselves, Montana believes that we discover a real sense of belonging when we don’t listen to any rules at all.
Montana grew up in the Santa Cruz Mountains in California, USA. She then attended Brown University in Providence, RI, USA. There she double majored in computer science and visual art.
At Brown, Montana fell in love with painting while studying under Wendy Edwards, Jerry Mischak, and Ayana Evans. Her first exhibition was at Casa de Porras in Granada, Spain when she studied abroad and took a course with Spanish artist, Alhambra García Caballero in 2018. She has also enjoyed learning from Santa Cruz artist, Carrie Clayden.
After graduating from Brown, Montana moved to California to get her masters degree in Computational Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz. With her background in visual art and computer science, she focused her research on digital art tools. For her masters thesis she built a generative art tool called SlimeArt. In SlimeArt, users create colorful, dynamic particle simulations with an agent-based model of slime mold.
While her graduate studies focused on digital art and teaching computer science, Montana continued to develop her acrylic painting practice. One of her paintings was selected for an open call at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History calling for local artists’ work responding to the pandemic. The show exhibited during the spring of 2021. Additionally, in 2021 she completed her own 100 Day Project of working in her sketchbooks, exhibited in a group show of local artists at the R. Blitzer Gallery, and developed a daily painting practice. In 2021 she released three different painting collections: the Tree Series, a series of paintings of trees in Wilder Ranch State Park; the Everyday Series, a series of small abstract paintings about her daily painting practice; and the Fresh Start Collection, a series of four paintings about her new life in Montreal.
In September of 2021 she moved to Montreal after receiving her masters degree. In Montreal, Montana works in her studio at Ateliers3333 every morning creating acrylic paintings on canvas, experiments in her sketchbooks, or works on paper for her 2022 100 Day Project. During the day, she works on creative tools as a software developer.
Santa Cruz Visual Artists Network Show Feb to March 2021
R. Blitzer Gallery, Santa Cruz, CA, USA
In These Uncertain Times… Jan to May 2021
Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, Santa Cruz, CA, USA
Loma Prieta Holiday Craft Faire December 2019
Loma Prieta Community Center, Los Gatos, CA, USA
Senior Capstone Show May 2019
List Art Center, Providence, RI, USA
Solo Show December 2018
List Art Center, Providence, RI, USA
Juega May 2018
Casa de Porras, Granada, Spain
Roberta Joslin Award in Visual Art June 2019
Brown University, Providence, RI, USA
Montana's college studio in December 2018
Not ready to pick a painting today? Curious about an inside look inside Montana's process? Montana shares the best updates in her newsletter, while giving daily updates on her Instagram (@montanafowler_cs_art). She loves connecting with others over their love for art.