Altamira Fine Art Scottsdale is pleased to present Natural Rhythms, a new exhibition for Theodore Waddell.
Please join us Thursday, February 6th during the Gold Palette ArtWalk, for an Artist Reception from 6:30-9pm. The artist will be in attendance.
Like the land itself, Theodore Waddell’s paintings change with prolonged exposure. New elements emerge; layers of meaning accumulate. In reference to this aspect of his art Waddell says, “I want my work to constantly change, with the hope that it will be different each time I see it as well as for others who view it.”
A sense of place inspires his paintings and thus the titles he assigns to each scene: a bison herd takes on historical resonance when placed within the man-made setting of Clark Canyon in Montana. “I try to translate the narratives of land, seasons, mortality, grandeur, and human/animal interdependence into our own context,” he says. “I concentrate on the vagaries of colors and times, attempting to understand and capture what I see.”
Such concentration requires surrendering plan to process, allowing his heart and hand to work in harmony. The resulting compositions evoke essential elements of land and life without veering into didacticism. “I prefer work that is open-ended and doesn't attempt to lead me in a certain way and determine all of the conclusions.”
Hard-won humility: as a Montana native and cattle rancher, he migrated east to study painting at the Brooklyn Museum of Art and Wayne State University before returning to the Western plains. Influenced by Abstract Expressionists, he layers his landscapes with atmospheric modernism, focusing on scenes informed by his experience, free of idealism. “Since the beginning of my career, I have sought a vision of the West that elevates itself above the status of cowboy art,” he says. “I hope to convey this vision in a way that draws the viewer into my world.”
For pricing and details contact firstname.lastname@example.org/ 480-949-1256.
Theodore Waddell was born in 1941 in Billings, Montana, and raised in Laurel, Montana. He studied with Isabelle Johnson, Montana’s first modernist painter, before earning a scholarship to study at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. He received his MFA from Wayne State University.
Waddell's sophisticated modernist paintings have attracted widespread recognition. A former cattle rancher, Waddell most often paints freely rendered range animals roaming the vast plains of Eastern Montana. His art draws a deliberate parallel between his subject and abstract art elements. Cattle and horses are motifs arranged formally on the flattened and enveloping painted “ground” characteristic of modernism. While his early works were noted for heavily textured surfaces, Waddell’s recent paintings are more atmospheric, with translucent wax medium layers suggesting the drift of grazing animals, transitions of days, and the movement of seasons.
Waddell was deeply influenced by Abstract Expressionists such as Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollack, Hans Hoffman, and others. Waddell noted, “I didn’t realize how important these influences were. These painters wanted you to know that the canvas had a presence, more than their illusionistic predecessors. The paint had its own identity as well with thick swatches, drips, and blurbs.”
Waddell’s paintings represent diverse approaches, styles, and techniques. There are cattle or horses dotting expansive plains. Some are huddled together in winter blizzards, lost in landscapes of thick paint, under the windswept colors of a rising moon. They are brushed, knifed, dripped, jotted down, and can be thickly textured or feint abstractions. His work is included in the permanent collections of the Denver Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Booth Museum of Western Art, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, and the National Museum of Wildlife Art, among others. Theodore is the recipient of the 2015 Montana Governer's Arts Award. The 288 page book, Theodore Waddell: My Montana was released in 2017 and features paintings and sculpture from 1959-2016.