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Prepare to be part of Billings artist Jon Lodge’s current art experiment at the MIXX9 show Friday at Billings Open Studio, 2814 Second Ave. N., third floor.

The one-night exhibit features recent works by nine area artists and is up during ArtWalk from 5 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 6.

The show is an eclectic, and sometimes surprising, collection of work in a variety of media by accomplished contemporary artists.

The MIXX9 artists and their media are David Knobel (painting), Mark Earnhart (sculpture), Jon Lodge (mixed media, sound and performance), Jane Waggoner Deschner (hand-embroidered found photographs), Sarah Knobel (photography), Tracy Linder (sculpture), Patrick Smith (photography), Neltje (painting), and Jodi Lightner (drawing).

Knobel’s work refers to the rapidly expanding geographical space of the digital realm that encroaches on our material existence. Due to our constant interface with flattened digital spaces, the perception of space as a whole has been altered.

“I choose painting in its innumerable methods as a way to communicate and come to terms with this time and space in which we live,” said Knobel, who was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and

teaches art at MSU Billings.

Earnhart’s work is like eavesdropping on a muffled conversation. There is a shared language but the structure has been reinterpreted and dubbed for audience interpretation.

Earnhart grew up in the small town of Lebanon, Ohio. He is currently teaching sculpture at MSUB.

Lodge will direct the manufacture of an original modular sculpture, assembled by random art walk volunteers. He will attempt to distribute 1,100 limited edition lithographic prints signed by the artist and display an array of encapsulated pods based on a mathematical progression. He will also program a sequence of ambient sound based on 120 beats per minute.

Lodge grew up in Red Lodge, moved to Boston to study music, photography and graphic design, then returned to Montana.

Waggoner-Deschner’s latest series departs from her previous work in that she focuses on the motif of a domino mask as well as incorporates vintage paper ephemera (holy cards, Canasta cards, snapshot folders) in juxtaposition with found photographs.

Deschner earned her MFA from Vermont College in 2002. Her exhibit “Face Value: Embroidered Found Photographs” is up at the University of Wyoming Art Museum.

Sarah Knobel focuses on objects are that are insignificant, have short-term functionality, but are objects of mass without utility.

“My curiosity is about items that are immediate, cheap and considered cute within Western cultures,” she said.

This particular series of large-format photographs studies the way trash can be interpreted as landscapes, objects and artifacts. Knobel is a photographer and video artist in Billings.

An abiding appreciation for the circle of life drives the artwork created by Linder. Her experiences growing up on a family farm provide a rich framework from which she addresses our integral connection to the land, the sanctity of our food sources and the innate survival skills of all species.

Linder received her MFA degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1991. Since then she has been exhibiting her art works nationally in museums and galleries.

Smith’s recent work explores the minimalist landscape of the Greenland icecap.

“A visually infinite and perfectly white ice sheet beneath the unlimited sky is the backdrop I use for the ideas, designs and concepts I bring with me,” Smith said.

Smith is a Billings contemporary artist with a BFA in photography from Louisiana Tech University.

For more than 40 years, self-taught abstract artist Neltje has utilized diverse materials and media to visually explore her life and experiences.

“Memory flows straight and sideways, becomes abstract, passion felt translates in color, mark and form,” Neltje said. “I react in the second that passes, allowing my arm to swing and touch brush hairs to canvas, a stream from my subconscious mind.”

Born in New York City in 1934, Neltje has resided in Banner, Wyo., since the mid-1960s. Her work is in numerous galleries, private collections and museums including the Smithsonian Institution, Wyoming State Museum and Yellowstone Art Museum.

The rope nets in Lightner’s drawing installation idealize that human inter-connectivity. The ebb and flow of our relationship is evident in the fluid movement of our proximity to others and as the viewers move in and around the drawings, their actions mirror the changing forms of the ropes in motion.

Lightner completed her MFA degree at Wichita State University in 2010 and teaches painting and drawing at MSUB.

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Entertainment Reporter

Jaci Webb covers entertainment for The Billings Gazette.