Blackfoot Pathways: Sculpture in the Wild

Beth Korth is the current art education coordinator at Tippet Rise Art Center located in Fishtail, MT. She received her MFA from the University of Montana in 2016 after her undergraduate studies at the University of Wyoming. Beth has shown work across the western United States and in Japan.  Korth’s multi-media work explores everyday relationships using iconic tropes and animal bodies to signify the familiar way we have told stories while activating twists into the bodies’ form, layers of drawing, and bright expressive colors she complicates stories to capture contemporary human nature and the stories of our lives today. In 2020, Korth was a featured artist at the Billings Downtown Alliance. She recently received an award for her volunteer work with the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation. Beth guest lecturers at Wallace, ID university and has recently installed a mural at the newly renovated historic Lincoln Theater in Cheyenne, WY. Beth's work is in the collection of the American Museum of Ceramic Art’s in Pomona, CA. 

Beth Korth (USA)

2021 Emerging Artist

"The Words That Birds Carry; Incoded, but not Lost in these Woods, Found by Those Who Listen” 

When I first approached the Blackfoot Pathways: Sculpture in the Wild in Lincoln, MT it was in 2016 as an education intern. A wonderful experience in this community. It was at this very Conex storage box that I assisted a fellow artist and worked with the volunteers. It would be three years later I would return to the park and be married in the very place I had met my partner as an intern, here in the park. Now upon returning as the role of emerging artist; it went without saying that this container was to be my canvas.

The final product has 38 painted birds (10 belong to the Lincoln High School Students they contributed themselves) the 28 I painted are all different species seen in the park throughout the year. With one exception of the Northern Lapwing, an Irish native bird in honor of the founder of the BPSW, Kevin O’Dwyer.  In-between each bird is multiple marks and line/shapes that connect different bird bodies with the implied line and colors. Much like a language of marked up maps these abstracted marks are meant to serve as the connections happening between each of these birds- an abstracted language of sound, instinct, and physical connections birds use between each other to warn against, collaborate, and coexist with one another in a tight ecosystem. In the larger area of Blackfoot River and Scape Goat Wilderness, there are hundreds of species of birds that make their way through this woven wilderness and space in complete balanced harmony. 

This constant and beautiful collaboration was what inspired the work to flow through and around the box, creating a bright space to draw in guests in contrast to the neutral and natural muted tones of the surrounding park, then give a calming and joyful space to feel safe, rest and reflect on the environment around. The imagery of local birds provides a custom connection to the immediate community as well as a space of education for guests who may not recognize a bird or are watching for them in the trees. 

They are not perfect birds or scientific illustrations of each species. They are slightly off, not fully refined, and not to any scale. The representation has a looseness and illustrative quality that allows for error and onlookers to also fill in gaps and potential missing information with their own reference and truths. This collaboration of looking and filling in mental imagery is another way I hope to keep viewers engaged while at rest in the park. 

This piece is dedicated to the tight-knit community of Lincoln, MT. I have this community to thank for so many wonderful things in my life including amazing friends, and my beautiful family. I hope that I have contributed a creative space of growth, contemplation, and joy for years to come.