Bringing Contemporary Art to Whitefish
by Sabina Dana Plasse
Collectible fine art photography & paintings reflect on the 21st century.
Located in downtown Whitefish, Montana, Hollman Miller Gallery celebrates its first year in the Flathead Valley. When the gallery opened in May of 2022, owner and director Kristin Rivas was excited to bring 21st-century contemporary art and artists to the area. With her well-honed curation sensibility and an eye for art in niche markets, especially from overseeing Samuel Lynne Galleries in Chicago, Dallas, and Houston, Rivas assembled a collection of artists, including fine art photographers David Yarrow and Tyler Shields, along with contemporary painters Lea Fisher and JD Miller.
This past July, internationally-known Scottish photographer David Yarrow spent three days at Hollman Miller Gallery in Whitefish to engage with collectors and admirers. The attraction to David Yarrow is his sense of familiarity and evocative style, which juxtaposes many known elements of space and subjects to capture a unique and irreplicable moment. In addition, David Yarrow’s timing for his recent American West series parallels the experience of many Americans who have discovered or rediscovered the West since the pandemic.
“One of David Yarrow’s most early and primary fascinations is with the American West, ever since he was very young,” says Rivas. “During the pandemic, especially when much of the country was shut down, David was allowed more opportunity to travel in these lesser populated and equally awe-inspiring ‘fly over’ states of the U.S. That is when his American West series was born, and since then, it has continued to catch major attention. In Dallas, we have proudly represented his work for over six years, and it continues to gain popularity each year. His photography is wildly detailed and meticulously staged. Without fail, it causes people to stop and stare. It is his boundary-breaking philosophy that garners his continued growth of collectorship.”
“We hope to be a first choice for those seeking something modern, fresh, or bold.”
Photographer Tyler Shield is well-known for his unique brand and approach to photography as an edgy disrupter and often pushes comfort levels with his salacious style. He is praised for his work with some of Hollywood’s most trendy starlets and, of course, a variety of renowned celebrities and models. Along with questioning and pushing the very nature of our world’s existence, Shield has also published several books. The Dirty Side of Glamour, The Smartest Man, and Provocateur are a testament to his unique ability to show life from several angles. Shield’s images have also been on auction at Christie’s, Phillips, and Sotheby’s, and he was honored with a one-person show at Sotheby’s London, a first for a living photographer.
“Provocative, colorful, and inspired, Shields leaves absolutely no stone unturned regarding his brilliant artworks. Beyond that, Tyler’s photography is all created from film, which is a lost art form in today’s digital world,” says Rivas. “His process is truly amazing and bound to make a serious mark on the history of photography. He is nothing short of a genius. His approach to achieving the shot is incredible, and his ideas are bottomless. His drive to make his next photograph his best never ceases to amaze. Even more impressive, most of his work is done in his home, where he creatively designs sets and uses the placement of light to his ultimate advantage. Shields is always experimenting to find new ways of using old cameras, and this nod to the origins of art making will drive us into the future of photography.”
JD Miller has been a palette knife fine oil painter for 25 years. He is also the founder of “reflectionism,” a three-dimensional oil technique and art movement based on the laws of attraction, which has evolved from his work as a painter and musician—like-energy attracting like-energy translates the law of vibration into energy.
“It’s about the well-known and often forgotten concept that the energy you omit is what you get back. JD is truly a bright light in this world, and his energy in all forms, including his artwork, draws people to him,” says Rivas. “It’s oil paint that quite literally comes off the canvas in a textured, bold, and lively manner. Miller created this three-dimensional technique in companion with his philosophies of reflectionism, and each of his paintings gives off a unique personality, infused with Miller’s most positive intentions.”
Miller’s work is solid and impactful, providing viewers with an existential journey. He is represented in collections and museums throughout the United States. In addition, he is involved with multiple educational and charitable organizations and resides and works in Dallas, Texas. Miller’s traditional landscapes and floral works are currently on exhibition at Hollman Miller Gallery.
“It’s oil paint that quite literally comes off the canvas in A textured, bold, and lively manner.”
A student of Miller, artist Lea Fisher is also represented at Hollman Miller Gallery with many abstracts and self-portraits. An intuitive artist, Fisher paints dramatic compositions that mirror her life experiences with an ethereal quality using oils and multi-media to create rich, sculpted textures. “Bridging traditional and modern aesthetic, Lea’s abstract style uses the same three-dimensional oil technique, but she has taken on an entirely individual statement,” says Rivas. “Her work is riveting and focuses primarily on the philosophies of the self, charging viewers to look within. One of Fisher’s most popular collections, her Self-Portrait series, recognizes concepts of self-image during different phases of one’s life. There seems to be at least one portrait in the collection that everyone feels is their inner self.”
As Hollman Miller Gallery looks toward the future to engage art lovers, collectors, and admirers, visits from David Yarrow on July 21 and 22, 2023, as well as Tyler Shields for dates in July, are in the works. In addition, plans for Lea Fisher and JD Miller to visit Whitefish are also forthcoming. Miller is also an owner of the gallery with Rivas and Travis Hollman.
“We have opened the gallery with four core artists to keep in line with our mission to provide only the most groundbreaking, dedicated, and worldly recognized creatives,” says Rivas. “We wanted to bring contemporary artwork to Whitefish that we have not commonly seen here. We hope to be a first choice for those seeking something modern, fresh, or bold. Our artists can appeal to any demographic of collectors but also increase the design impact of every home in which they are installed. Abstract art in traditional homes creates a remarkable and modern design, especially in many beautiful new homes in Whitefish. We understand that homeowners want their space to be an oasis, and having fine art achieves that.”
With aspirations to introduce art collectors and admirers to living contemporary artists like David Yarrow and his take on the new American West and the excitement and allure of Tyler Shields, Hollman Miller Gallery hopes to add to art collections and guide those investing in art as well as offer the Whitefish community something new and exciting with living artists who look forward to spending time in the Flathead Valley.
“It’s already been such a great start here in Whitefish, and we feel immense gratitude for the support we have received from the community,” says Rivas. “Hollman Miller Gallery wants Whitefish to know that we welcome everyone to the gallery to enjoy the artwork and come meet us. We are eager to keep giving back the warmth we’ve been shown and want to be involved in the incredible community as much as possible.”
“We understand that homeowners want their space to be an oasis, and having fine art achieves that.”
The Hollman Miller Gallery is open Monday through Saturday, from 11am to 6pm. On Sunday, the gallery is open from 11am to 5pm.
334 Central Avenue | Unit A | Whitefish, MT
406.730.2622 | firstname.lastname@example.org