Artist, illustrator and designer Greg Montgomery was at the College of St. Rose in Albany working on a Masters degree in art in the mid-1980s. One of his first courses was in silk screening, and now, 30 years later, he “loved the process — the hard edges and brilliant colors.”
One of his first class assignments involved producing a poster.
“We were living in Saratoga Springs, not far from one of the most beautiful thoroughbred racetracks in the country and the scene of the famous mid-summer Derby, the Travers Stakes,” Montgomery told Middleburg Life.
“There was no poster that announced the splendor of the Saratoga Race Track or the pageantry of the race, so I created one for a silk-screening project as part of my course work.”
The first poster was “The Silks” in 1986. “It celebrates the pageantry, the royalty of racing in the style of coats of arms,” he said.
Montgomery, 67, has since gone on to create Travers and Saratoga posters for the glittering summer racing season as well as 40 covers for the republishing of the famous murder-mystery series by Dick Francis. And now, The National Sporting Library & Museum (NSLM) is curating “To the Finish: The Art and Process of Greg Montgomery.” The exhibit, from July 29 through Nov. 27 is sponsored by Greenhill Winery & Vineyards and NSLM Vice Chairman of the Board, Jacqueline B. Mars.
The exhibition of approximately 35 fine art prints and preparatory materials delves into the artist’s creative process. It includes a giclée of the poster he has designed for this year’s NSLM’s sixth annual Polo Classic as well as his early seri-graphs (silkscreen prints), drawings, and cut-paper studies. Also displayed will be several other giclées printed with the innovative ink-jet printing technology that results in realistic colors, detail, and faithfulness to the original medium.
“When beginning a drawing or illustration, it’s the composition of a scene that catches my eye,” Montgomery said. “I see the shapes, the darks and lights, the colors and balance or tensions within the scene. I seek to simplify what I see into flat solid shapes of color with hard edges and high contrast, creating strong focal points and aligning elements within the artwork to focus your view.”
Montgomery applies his bold and colorful graphic style to the wide range of scenery one might encounter at an equestrian event and is reminiscent of a vintage travel-by-train poster.
There have been drastic changes in print making processes over the years, but Montgomery’s countless drawings and sketches remain the most important aspect of his body of work. Here, the kernel of the artist’s intent is a constant.
“Drawing is a language that I speak,” he said. “Graphic design is what I do with it.”
Montgomery will be at the NSLM on Friday, July 29th, from 6:00 – 8:00 pm, for a 6th Annual Polo Classic Poster Signing when the exhibition opens to the public. That evening, the Piedmont Symphony Orchestra will be the featured Open Late Concert series performers. For more information visit NationalSporting.org or call 540-687-6542.