Artist Statement

“Dal Poggetto’s paintings embody the vivid, close relation to the landscape of the American West that we can attain. They step past the picture window.”


Selected solo exhibitions include: Visions West Contemporary, Montana Museum of Art & Culture University of Montana, Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture, Yellowstone Art Museum, Oregon State University, Holter Museum of Art, University of California at Davis, Dana Reich Gallery, Peter Koch Printers, Montana State University, Billings.

Group shows include: Atelier6000, PDX Contemporary, Missoula Art Museum, Plains Art Museum, Museo ItaloAmericano, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art.

Dal Poggetto’s essays on the relationship between art and landscape have been published in academic and literary journals, and anthologized.

Dal Poggetto is a recipient of the Jentel Foundation Residency, Helene Wurlitzer Painting Fellowship, Pouch Cove Foundation Residency, twice a Ucross Foundation Fellowship and a Playa Invitational Residency Award.

Dal Poggetto received an M.A. in Painting and Drawing from San Francisco State University, a B.A. from the University of California at Davis, with honors in Art Studio, and studied in Italy.

Born in Sonoma, California, she now lives and works in Helena, Montana.

Download a PDF


Landscape Art: An Interview with Sandra Dal Poggetto

Minding Nature

Sandra Dal Poggetto (SDP): I’m uncertain about this interview because first of all, I write much better than I speak, and so this will be a challenge for you and me as I feel I have said everything—at least for now—in my essays. Maybe you can find a different angle or draw something out that I haven’t said or thought of before.

Anja Claus (AC): Okay, well let’s give it a try and see how it goes. You know I’ve read several of your pieces online, and you are an amazing writer.

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Primal Colors: A Conversation with Sandra Dal Poggetto and Mark Stevens

Montana Museum of Art and Culture

Excerpts from the conversation (time: 9.19)
Watch the full length video here.


Primal Colors [Essay]

By Sandra Dal Poggetto
Center for Humans and Nature

In the bottom of a high plains coulee, it’s wild. No plow reaches this place. Sound is quieted yet strangely amplified. Depending on the coulee’s depth, I am a bit frightened. But often there are deer beds in the soft grasses, perhaps sharp-tailed grouse, and I am hunting them.

I see with the eyes of a fine arts painter—a contemporary painter whose subject is landscape. Over time, the practice of hunting has taken me deep into landscape, back to the world of my youth where perception is whole and things ancient can be touched. And this practice has brought me forward to new ground in painting.

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By Michele Corriel
Western Art & Architecture

Abstract artist Sandra Dal Poggetto’s work speaks of the land in a visual language that includes game-bird feathers, deer hides, and oil pigments made from plants, soil and bone. She composes a narrative of the landscape—of being surrounded by sky, grass and wind, and the awareness of being human in the world. Her colors reveal sounds, her marks tell us where she’s been, and in so doing she allows us to walk away with a taste of wildness.

“First and foremost, I’m a painter so I think in terms of paint,” Dal Poggetto says, adding that color, texture, value, shape and density all appear in nature and therefore in her work.

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Sandra Dal Poggetto: An Intercourse with Nature

By Zoe Larkins

Museum of Contemporary Art Denver

A published writer and skilled hunter as well as a visual artist, Sandra Dal Poggetto has written about themes in her fine art practice and hunting, often at the same time. In an essay she wrote to accompany an exhibition of her work at the Augusta College Fine Arts Center Gallery in 1996 that was subsequently published in Gray’s Sporting Journal, she notes that some of the earliest examples of what historians rec-ognize as art document the act or resultant bounty of hunting. “Man’s first images,” she writes, “were born from the life-giving and death-bearing intensity of the hunt.” In the essay, she traces the trajectory of depic-tions of hunting scenes and spoils from Paleolithic cave paintings to the work of early American modernist Thomas Eakins.

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An Interview with Sandra Dal Poggetto

By Brandon Reintjes
MMAC Curator of Art

[Brandon Reintjes] First of all, can you briefly describe your studio practice?

[Sandra Dal Poggetto] I generally work five days a week, sometimes weekends. I rise early and finish by lunch time. Sometimes I go back in the afternoon.

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By Sandra Dal Poggetto
Basalt Literary Journal

Northern California’s coastal hills and valleys where I grew up are smaller in scale and gentler than the Rocky Mountains where I now live. As a girl, there was much to explore, imagine and discover in the chaparral and mixed oak forests that surrounded my home. The native peoples who had understood the land infinitely better than I were absent. Pomo, Wintuns and Wapo had lived in those hills for thousands of years but were never a topic of conversation at home or in my history lessons at school. Only later did I see and marvel at their intricate grass baskets woven to gather, process and store wild foodstuffs: oak acorns, wild oats, fish, game, berries, seeds and roots.

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Tensions, Paradoxes and Impurities: The Truth of the Matter

By Mark Stevens

For any thoughtful painter, the landscape of the American West is a hauntingly difficult subject. Its visual scale cannot be captured in a rectangle. And its metaphysical character, suffused by the visionary dreams of the historical West, stretches beyond ordinary frames of reference. Earlier artists who addressed the subject—notably members of the Hudson River School and mystic modernists like O’Keeffe—had the advantage of depicting what was at least a new-seeming world. They could therefore yield to rapturous dreams, ranging from Edenic innocence to a mystical union with nature. But today’s serious artists face an older, more complicated landscape crowded with many different intertwined feelings and implications.

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By Sandra Dal Poggetto
Northern Lights

The smell of sage was strong as I drew the warm entrails out of the bird and onto the ground. Food for scavengers, I thought.

“To hunt the all American bird one should have the all American gun,” he said to provoke me as I rose to my feet. I looked with affection at my Spanish side-by-side made by temperamental Basque artisans, and then at the feathery legs of the sage grouse hanging limp from its eviscerated body.

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Duccio in the Eye of the Hunt: Modern Connections between the Chase and Art

By Sandra Dal Poggetto
Gray’s Sporting Journal

For millennia, painting and hunting have been among the most fundamental expressions of human culture, yet today their relevance is seriously being questioned in this time of radical technological change. In our modern world, one might ask why I, or anyone, would choose to be a painter of landscape—and a hunter.

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Listen To An Excerpt from Sandra Dal Poggetto’s Essay, Relict, on The Radio Program, Reflections West

Click to Listen


“Sandra Dal Poggetto is reinterpreting the Western American landscape tradition through stunningly beautiful and deeply surprising means.”

“Dal Poggetto... builds her paintings around tensions, paradoxes and impurities—a truthful reflection of our culture’s complex relationship to the landscape.”

“Her colors reveal sounds, her marks tell us where she’s been, and in so doing she allows us to walk away with a taste of wildness.”

“. . . mutual mimesis.”

“Dal Poggetto’s skills and fine-tuned sensibilities are evident in every stroke... Spontaneous but studied, organic but formally taut, the accumulations of gestures, shapes and layers... of colors and textures are locked into ineffably ‘right’ relationships, yet retain a refreshing sense of animation and spontaneity.”

“I think she’s the kind of artist who is making art authentically in her own time...”

“Sandra Dal Poggetto[‘s]... strong and sensitive paintings... [are] remarkable for their spare evocations of turbulence and search...”

“ artistic awareness of both Western and Eastern art forms, the large split canvases reveal an image of quiet cultivation and surprising kinetics.”

“Of all the first shows I remember seeing recently, the one that most knocked me out was Sandra Dal Poggetto’s... her work suggests that she is on her way to the kind of mastery that could easily put her on the covers of art magazines.”