Glendive native’s photos to be featured in Minneapolis gallery

Sunday, February 3, 2019
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Photo courtesy of Victoria Dellapaolera

A wild horse pauses in the badlands and is captured by photographer Victoria Dellapaolera. Forty photographs will be featured at an art show.

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Photo courtesy of Victoria Dellapaolera

Glendive native Victoria Dellapaolera will be a featured artist at a Minneapolis art gallery beginning on Feb. 18.

Victoria (Shoopman) Dellapaolera has always had three passions: horses, photography and the badlands. Growing up in Glendive, her childhood was filled with horses and badlands adventures. Now, she lives in Minnesota and many years later, these three pursuits have come together in the form of a gallery show featuring her photographs of wild horses taken in the badlands. A series of her photographs will be on display at the Ambiente Gallerie in Minneapolis, Minn. starting Feb. 18.

“It’s definitely been something that I’ve worked on for a while now and now its nice to finally see it coming together,” Dellapaolera said.

She had made contact with the art gallery last year via an open submission on a whim.

“People like [the pictures] on Facebook,” she said, “but no one’s going to fill up a gallery with these.”

She was wrong. The gallery’s director, Dr. Kari Boudreau, got in touch with her very quickly after seeing her images and set aside a two month slot to feature her work.

“I feel like the art would just pop out. Just stand against the brick and white. Your eye will be drawn to the image that she did,” said Boudreau

Boudreau has been a patron of the arts for 20 years and runs a chiropractic clinic in Minneapolis. She decided to establish a large art gallery in her building in 2011 to showcase local and up and coming artists.

“We’re kind of in the heart of the art district in Minneapolis. I designed the space with an architect to showcase art,” said Boudreau. The gallery ended up being 3600 square feet.

Boudreau thought the large size of the gallery would mesh well with the images Dellapaolera submitted. “Where she takes these on location is big. It’s a very vast landscape. The cool thing about our gallery is that it’s an open space that really lends itself to her work,” she noted.

As for Dellapaolera’s inspiration, it all comes from growing up in Glendive.

“I’ve always been kind of a horse crazy person. I’ve had horses my entire life,” Dellapaolera said.

“I grew up in Glendive just south of town. I was right up against the badlands, so I was always in the badlands on my horse.”

As a child, Dellapaolera got ahold of a simple camera, and started learning how to take pictures with her county 4-H chapter. A local photographer helped teach Dellapaolera and her peers and really inspired her.

“Terry Osborn stepped up and mentored all us kids. He had a studio down there in Glendive for maybe 20 years,” Dellapaolera, said. “He taught us, as much as you could teach an 8 year old. He made a big influence by just teaching what he knew.”

Many years later on a trip to Medora with her husband, Delapaolera brought her camera with her. She got the chance to photograph some wild horses and was hooked. But it wasn’t always easy to capture these creatures in images.

“You never know if you’re going to see any at all. It was like that thrill of the game,” Dellapaolera said, comparing the activity to hunting.

“I’ve gone many trips and not seen anything at all,” she said.

Even when Dellapaolera found a horse, it wasn’t as simple as just pushing a button on a camera.

“You still have to consider your composition and your lighting,” Dellapaolera explained, “but it’s a wild horse, you can’t just change your angle or something because he might take off.”

As for her subject matter, Dellapaolera’s fascination with horses goes beyond childhood familiarity.

“Horses are a spiritual animal,” she said. “They are kind of a dramatic creature. They have these groups and drama. There’s constantly drama and peace and strife.”

As she watched the herds more and more, Dellapaolera drew parallels between the wild horses and human beings.

“When you look at what’s going on and take out the fluff, it’s really just a lot simpler versions of our lives,” she said.

The horses are not the only star of the images. Dellapaolera was also very artistically inspired by the badlands, viewing them as more than a simple background.

“There’s a deep spiritual connection to how their souls tie into the badlands themselves,” Dellapaolera said. “If you look at the history of the badlands, what the Dakota believe the badlands were, there’s this real beauty to it.”

The gallery can be found on Facebook under the name Ambiente Gallerie.

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