The Badlands of eastern Montana where I grew up continue to capture my attention. The fluid movement of the erosion formations has etched a lasting impression upon me.
Born in eastern Montana, Dale Beckman has explored the badlands of Makoshika State Park extensively. Dale has always been an image-maker, and the peculiar formations of these hills have become his subject matter.
After receiving a B.A. at Rocky Mountain College in Billings and conducting post-graduate work at the University of Montana, Dale moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico. There he began to market his work with Santa Fe Society of Artists, Artist Equity and Rio Grande Artists Co-op. Besides participating in the outdoor art market, Dale also exhibited in reginal and online galleries. After eleven years in Santa Fe, Dale moved to Abiquiu, New Mexico and spent the next eight years painting the desert badlands that were once home to Georgia O’Keefe. Today Dale lives in Helena, Montana where he continues with his creative endeavors.
Montana is famous for its mountains and fishing streams, but much of the eastern third of the state is badlands, sandstone hills sculpted for millennia by wind and water. Next to the town of Glendive is Makoshika State Park, home to some of the most fascinating and bizarre rock formations in the state. The name Makoshika (Ma-ko’-shi-ka) is a variant spelling of a Lakota phase meaning ‘bad land’ or ‘bad earth’.
The Montana badlands provide rich subject matter for artists. In the early 20yh century, Evelyn Cameron took her camera into the badlands near Terry and brought back amazing images. One hundred years later, Dale Beckman takes his photographs of the badlands back to his studio and from them paints these remarkable pictures.
Dale’s paintings ask us to see the actual in abstraction, and the abstract in the landscape we move through. His paintings describe the wind and water that shape this landscape as much as the hills themselves. He creates visual descriptions of badlands that both pixelate and soothe this broken landscape, honing in on specific features to create quite, contemplative spaces from this rugged place.