Up and Away"
Robert DeWeese is something of a legend to artists in the state of Montana. One of the inspirations for Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, he was born and educated in the Midwest but has lived in Montana since 1949. During World War II he served in the United States Air Force where he played flute, carried messages, and made posters. He taught at Montana State for twenty-eight years and retired as Professor Emeritus in 1977. Colleagues and former students alike praise the enthusiasm and attention that he paid to his students at Montana State. Good friend Rudy Autio has called him "a living national treasure."
DeWeese's work has been exhibited widely throughout the West, and he has been active since retirement, painting, juring shows, printmaking and running an art gallery with his wife, Gennie. He believes he has never been self-consciously regional in his work but admits there must be something of his adopted state that enters into his it, "obviously landscapes, but also a heightened sense of color-space awareness, no matter what subject."
DeWeese calls the Rattlesnake Valley Press Centennial Portfolio a "very worthwhile project" of a high level that will provide exposure for artists as well as a remarkable range of work for collectors.
His own print for the Portfolio is based on the so-called "rapture" phenomenon of the fundamental religious right. Figures move and turn as if awakened out of the dots of ink he has splashed across the printing plate. Though DeWeese himself finds the subject "incredulous" there is no harshness in his forms. There is rather a gentle quality, a sense of mystery, of what the concept might look like if true. As is typical for him his theme centers around familiar things - persons or ideas he has known or has heard about. All are handled with that "love of the absurd" Autio has identified, paired with a reverent good humor which those who know him will recognize.
--From the Rattlesnake Valley Press Centennial Issue, 1989, Margaret Mudd