Hallowed Absurdities: Work by Theodore Waddell


Trophy #14, mixed media; all art is from the collection of the artist.

Hallowed Absurdities: Work by Theodore Waddell
January 16 – March 15, 2015 in the Main Gallery
Friday, March 6: Artist Talk by Theodore Waddell

The Fort Collins Museum of Art is pleased to present Montana artist Theodore Waddell, one of the region’s best known artists. Waddell is an accomplished painter, sculptor and printmaker although he is primarily recognized for his uniquely identifiable paintings of the West, rife with wildlife and signature Angus cattle.

His sculptures take center stage in this exhibition titled Hallowed Absurdities. In addition to his reputation as a fine artist, Ted, as he is known to his family and friends, is also a rancher who has witnessed firsthand the stark realities of living on the land—winter kill, roadkill, and the relationship between rural living, guns, and gun owners. Hallowed Absurdities reveals the artist’s thoughts on these topics with mock firearms cunningly crafted from a variety of found objects including bleached animal bones, snake rattles, salt, and veterinary instruments, to name a few. Additionally, and perhaps not for the squeamish amongst us, the artist elevates roadkill to a level of fine art by incorporating actual specimens into paintings, reminding us of the balance in nature that literally runs afoul of man and machinery.


Bone Handle, mixed media; all art is from the collection of the artist.

At a time when gun rights have become a pivotal issue, the exhibition content poses timely questions about the responsibilities of gun ownership and stewardship of the land. The artist’s intent is not to fan the flames of the gun debate nor to create controversy about land use. Rather, Theodore Waddell aims to stir a thoughtful dialogue about these timely issues. Whether or not you are an aficionado of Theodore Waddell ‘s paintings, love or hate guns, or are looking to broaden your art definitions, you will find something unexpected to explore at the Fort Collins Museum of Art.

“I examine life and death and the connection of human and animal beings… My work deals with these issues and how one might come to terms with various aspects of our relationship with the animals and with each other… As animals we share this earth with other animals. My work explores our living and dying.”
—Theodore Waddell, February 1992

“Waddell’s earliest exploration of animal sculptures began in the 1980s. Representing the animals in motion, Waddell captures the moment right before death and preserves it. He has taken an event that is known to all of us and turned it into a thoughtful experience. Waddell represents the animals with respect and compassion as an act of remembrance.”
—Shanna Shelby


This exhibition organized by the Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, Montana.