Parks Reece Makes (Even More) Mischief

Parks Reece Makes (Even More) Mischief


Parks Reece Makes (Even More) Mischief

By:  Caitlin Sundborg


Outside Bozeman – Southwest Montana’s Outdoor Journal

He’s been called “wacky and whimsical” and “sure-footed nonconformist.” Boston’s NPR new station dubbed him “the Royal Jester of modern Western art.”  Whatever the label, one thing’s for sure:  artist Parks Reece

A Yellowstone Summer

is an iconoclast, a strikingly original printer known as much for his satirical wit as his artistic talent.  His wildlife paintings and lithographs are as emblematic of southwest Montana as the wolves, bears and trout they often depict.  Now, the unorthodox artist has teamed up with Outside Bozeman Magazine to point a farcical finger at contemporary Montana culture.  In a new series called “State of the West,” Reece takes on some of the most salient outdoor-oriented topics of the day.  The first piece debuted in the Summer 2011 issue.  “A Yellowstone Summer” shows two rainbow trout observing a swarm of artificial flies on the water’s surface.  “I miss the old days,” one laments, “before the fly-fishing craze.”

Trophy Home in Paradise

The Fall 2011 edition, on stands this week, pokes a little harder.  “Another Trophy Home in Paradise” gives the animals’ take on an all-too-common sight in southwest Montana.  As the sprawling edifice looms over an otherwise pristine landscape, one bear looks at another and complains, “There goes the neighborhood.”

This light-hearted yet incisive lampooning is all for the best according to Reece.  “It’s good to make people think a little,” he says, explaining his desire to explore our regions social and environmental issues.  “I don’t mind ruffling a few feathers if it gets the point across.  Outside Bozeman editor Mike England agrees.  “This is a perfect fit,” he says.  “We’re known for our irreverence, for bucking the status quo and making people look at things a little differently – and that’s exactly what Parks Reece does best.  We’re excited to help showcase his humorous, yet slightly barbed, commentary.”  The State of the West paintings – a blend of hand and brushwork – display bold, colorful scenes, with Reece’s trademark personification of Montana’s wild creatures.  The art is at once playful and pointed, funny and critical, beautiful and bohemian.  “It’s really amazing work,” notes England.  “People will like it even if they don’t get the underlying satire.”  The original paintings can be viewed at the Parks Reece Gallery in downtown Livingston.  The series is slated to run for at least another year, “or until we offend somebody really important,” says England.  Reece is worried.  “People around here like this sort of thing,” he says.  “And if they don’t, we can always make fun of them, too.”

For more information on Parks Reece, or to view his work, visit  State of the West paintings can be seen in Outside Bozeman‘s digital editions or at the Parks Reece Gallery.  For general information about Outside Bozeman magazine, visit