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Museum brings three artists to Hamilton
Ravalli County Museum Artist Liaison Ronnie Freeman looks at some pieces of art by Hamilton artist Pamela Caughey on Thursday. Caughey is studying for her M.F.A. at the University of Montana, and she and two other artists will be at the museum at 6 p.m. tonight for a free reception. DAVID ERICKSON - Ravalli Republic

The Artists in Residence program at the Ravalli County Museum is bringing three artists from the graduate program at The University of Montana to meet the public in Hamilton. At 6 p.m. tonight at the museum, artists Pamela Caughey, Randi O’Brien and Cathryn Sugg will meet with the public and host a reception featuring their artwork.

The event is free and open to the public, and there will be wine, food, cake, cocktails and coffee available.

“It really is an amazing opportunity for the public to meet these wonderful artists,” said museum artist liaison Ronnie Freeman. “People are going to say ‘Wow!’”

One of the artists to be featured is a Hamilton resident, Pamela Caughey.

Caughey has been working with watercolor and acrylic paints and collage for nearly 20 years focusing on florals, landscapes and free-flowing abstracts. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and has studied art in London, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Montana. She recently finished a collection of drawings exploring the visible and invisible impacts of the atomic bombs dropped Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan in 1945.

Caughey’s watercolor, acrylic, ink and gouache create a chaotic imagery interpreting florals, landscapes and abstracts in a free-flowing unique style. Caughey’s work has been shown throughout the Bitterroot and she is a signature member and past president of the Montana Watercolor Society.

Randi O’Brien is a porcelain artist who developed a passion for nature while growing up near the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. She specializes in functional artwork.

“The appeal of artwork that can be used, and can be chosen as a favorite among others in our daily rituals, to me, becomes a philosophy in art that I feel is incredibly valuable and dictates the how and why of my functional work,” she said in her artist’s statement. “The bond of functional art and culture is undoubtedly the foundation of my work.”

O’Brien’s porcelain pieces are each very unique and colorful, as she uses different substances such as glass and metal to create color patterns and textures.

Cathryn Sugg grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan, Canada, and spent her time running through the prairie, working in her father’s studio and “enduring a small town education”, as she put it.

When she was 16 she moved to Las Vegas to earn her bachelors of fine arts. After she gets her masters of fine arts, she will return to Glasgow where she has a husband, a studio and surplus of time and space waiting for artistic expression.

She is an abstract impressionist, and she creates multi-dimensional prints and paintings that attempt to express the elusive element of time.

“This work attempts to define the space between so-called opposites. The area of constant disquiet that exists between gatherer/hunter, feminine/masculine, urban/rural, interior/exterior, wife/spinster, dependant/heroic. The work uses iconic and regionally recognizable imagery to investigate a slippery and shifting space of tension, of in-between-ness.”

O’Brien is bringing over 200 pounds of clay down with her from Missoula, and Freeman is excited for people to be able to learn from her.

“Her pieces are just exquisite,” she said. “This is really a great opportunity.”

The artists will give a series of free workshops this month to anyone who is interested in learning their craft. Although some of the times and dates have yet to be set, Freeman said they will be at a time that people can work with.

“We are going to work with the public to determine when to have the workshops,” she said. “They are designed to be family-oriented, and they don’t cost a nickel.”

On March 1 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the museum, Sugg will present a workshop on the creation of “fictive space.” Attendees are to come to class with a favored quotation, and the class will focus on the translation of literary information into pictorial information. On April 24, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the museum, she will present a workshop on alternative art surfaces such as metal and fabric.

These workshops are free and open to the public.

“Presenting artists and emerging artists, that is a great opportunity for us,” said museum director Tamar Stanley. “These are things that we are happy to pursue. The museum is a great resource for the valley, and we hope people come and take advantage.”

The Ravalli County Museum is operated by the Bitter Root Valley Historical Society and is located at 205 Bedford in Hamilton.

For more information, contact the museum at 363-3338.

Reporter David Erickson can be reached at 363-3300 or