Capital Gallery pays homage to bison with new exhibit

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One art gallery in downtown Bismarck is taking people straight to the Badlands with its new exhibit.

When people think about North Dakota, one of the first things to come to mind is bison — and it’s that animal that’s the inspiration for 20 artists who have worked on a display in the Bison Ballet.

“No subject matter has been more popular than bison. I mean, here we are on the Northern Plains. The monarch of the plains. But whether it’s realistic, expressive or abstract people love Bison,” said David Borlaug, the Co-Director at the Capital Gallery.

It’s the love for bison in the Peace Garden State that has artists like Linda Donlin wanting to take part in the show.

“We could go out to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park and see them and photograph them and appreciate the beauty and understand what they’ve meant to the people that came before us. And that for the people that will go ahead of us and still have them to appreciate,” explained Donlin.

Donlin’s knife painting method is seen in both of the pieces of art she has on display in the Bison Ballet.

In Spring Storm, she has a mother and her calf grazing in the Badlands, and in A Bison Rising, she chose to focus on the beauty of the animal.

“They have such beautiful, soulful eyes and I wanted to show this very majestic bison on a bluff and looking out and have this beautiful sunrise behind him. Then the name just came to me: A Bison Rising,” said Donlin.

The gallery is covered in one-of-a-kind renditions of the bison.

“From ceramic to bronze sculptures to clay and of course the myriad of canvasses. Nearly 70 pieces total,” explained Borlaug.

People will have the opportunity until the middle of October to come to the Capital Gallery to find their favorite version of the bison.

Borlaug says Bison Ballet also shows an array of artists from newcomers to familiar faces they’ve worked with in the past.

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