Jack Dempsey Boyd isn't necessarily a sports guy.

The Missoula assemblage artist's half of a duo show, "Duets," with painter Wes Delano, is dominated by sports objects: golf clubs, tennis rackets, ping-pong balls, baseballs and boccie balls.

It's not sports so much, but the idea of leisure and recreation that sports paraphernalia can project on a viewer.

"We're living in such a chaotic world that we miss how important it is to shut the mind down and just really relax," he said.

Take one of the quintessential leisure sports: golf. For "Night Driving," Boyd assembled a functional lamp with three vintage golf clubs as legs and golf balls as ornamental flourishes topped by an old-school lamp shade.

The largest piece at the Brink Gallery - the largest he's ever made - touches on another sport associated with leisure: "17 Love" is constructed from vintage tennis rackets and tennis balls in a mandala-like circle.

"Worm Burners" is a minimalist piece built from 25 baseballs in five rows by five rows. They're stitched together and mounted without a backing, giving them the feeling that they're floating, an effect he enjoys. (The name, meanwhile, references a ground ball.)

Boyd began making assemblage art some 15 years ago as a creative outlet. He had a background in construction, so the skill set to build furniture from unexpected materials was in place.

His first pieces shown publicly in Missoula were included in a 2003 baseball-themed exhibition, "Out of the Bullpen," to mark construction of the Osprey Stadium - a table made of baseballs with bats as the legs.

He made a headdress out of found materials, including shredded credit cards as feathers, that won an honor for most original interpretation of the theme at the Dana Gallery's 2014 "Icons of the West" juried group show, which draws artists locally, regionally and nationally.

He also shows his art frequently at Le Petit Outre and Betty's Divine, and the Plonk Wine Bar bought three of his wall pieces, assembled from eight-tracks and record covers. (He likes to repeat objects. The eight-tracks are "Let it Bleed" by the Rolling Stones.)

Like most assemblage artists, he's an admitted hoarder who frequents garage sales and second-hand shops to buy interesting materials and objects, not necessarily knowing how they will eventually be used.

"I have storage that is probably 75 percent full of materials that were purchased for potential art pieces," he said.

He uses them as the inspiration strikes, not that building art is a leisurely pursuit: The headdresses likely take 250 hours of work.


Wes Delano, for the first time, decided to strip all the representational elements from his paintings.

"Part of that is for me, being an art viewer, I'd always had some admiration for people who worked exclusively in abstract," he said.

In his own work, however, he found it easier to evoke a response with some recognizable images.

He wasn't sure what response he'd get, but viewers found narratives of their own in his strongly horizontal, neon-colored and highly geometric abstractions.

Some music students, for instance, thought they could make some music based on the Delano's preferred motif of left-to-right rectangles in varied sizes and colors.

"They were convinced it was something that they could play," he said.

Delano, who played in local punk bands like Everyday Sinners and Nondrowsy in the '90s, wasn't necessarily going for that effect. He says he's "an absolute wreck" when it comes to reading music.

"I'd love to hear what they see," he said.

He's happy to invite people to read what they will into his paintings, even though the titles for some paintings, like the sprawling 9-by-3-foot "Mardi Gras San Soundtrack," evoke narratives.

Delano has drawn all his life, and for a spell after his music career did non-conventional graffiti, and began showing his paintings in galleries around town several years ago.

He admires Wassily Kandinsky for his use of color and depth of space and Jackson Pollock for the chaos and the novel palette, plus a few more obscure artists like sculptor William King and V.V. Rankine.

She combined painting and sculpture, a trait Delano adapted for "The Chaotic Ascension." He cut rectangular gaps in the canvas, and in some of the open spaces he placed smaller colorful rectangles.

They're carefully placed according to a mathematical design that could mean whatever you like when paired with the title.

Fittingly, his half of the show is called "Incomplete Narrative."