Laura Barrett

Laura Barrett: State of Grace will be exhibited at the MonDak Heritage Center from October 16 through January 4. A joint opening reception will be held on Oct. 18 from 6:30-8 p.m. to honor artist Laura Barrett (1930 — 2017) and for the public to meet the artist Beau Theige whose exhibit, Beau Theige’s Guitars is also opening at the same time. This exhibit is sponsored by MAGDA.

Laura Barrett: State of Grace, sponsored by the Missoula Art Museum, is a survey of works by Laura Grace Barrett (1930-2017). Born in Froid and raised on a wheat farm, she studied art and theater at the University of Montana, University of Hawaii, and UCLA. In addition to being an artist, she was a patron and dealer, opening the Bridge Street Gallery and Wine Café and Restaurant in Big Fork, Montana; Ambos Galeria de Arte y Artefactos gallery in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; and most recently Collage Gallery in Bigfork in 2014. Barrett exhibited and supported Montana contemporary artists and was influenced by their friendships and art. Particularly apparent are the influence of Robert and Gennie DeWeese, Theodore Waddell, and Inez Storer, artists who Barrett collected and exhibited. Barrett work is comprised of rich paintings and sensuous encaustics which incorporate collage, based on living in Montana, her travels, and her encounters with other artists.

In 2008, Laura Barrett made the statement, “The idea that art is all around us and is free for the seeing pervades my work. With the use of found papers or objects, an artist attempts to blend art and life. I try for a “blend of the real and the visionary, the practical and the impractical, suggesting reality in an abstract world.”

Barrett and her first husband founded the winery Chateau Montelena in Calistoga, California, whose 1973 Chardonnay won the landmark Paris tasting of 1976. Barrett wrote a book about what has come to be known as the ‘judgment of Paris,’ titled “What is More Real Than a Dream? Memoir of Chateau Montelena Winery” which inspired the 2008 film “Bottleshock.” During her lifetime, Barrett’s work was included in exhibitions at the Hockaday Museum of Art and Emerson Cultural Center.

MonDak Heritage Center is open Tuesday-Friday from 10-4 and Saturday from 1-4. Admission is free. For more information call (406) 433-3500 or e-mail

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