‘Hallowed Absurdities’ explores life and death
Artist Theodore Waddell examined life and death in his show “Hallowed Absurdities” and the connection of human and animal beings.
Waddell’s show opens Sept. 9 at the Oats Park Arts Center. His show will be in the Classroom Gallery. The Churchill Arts Council will host his reception, gallery walk through and book signing for him from 5 – 7 p.m.
His sculpture began with collecting skulls that were on the ranch property, mostly cow skulls, but occasionally he found a deer or antelope skull. Initially, these were just interesting to Waddell and nothing more. In a narrative discussing “Hallowed Absurdities,” began to integrate them into my work as a method of dealing with death and our view of it. Our attitude toward each other is reflected by our treatment of and response to animals.
Many curators believe that meaningful activities lie only in art produced in cities. They feel rural landscape is a bucolic, pastoral scene of pretty images which remain hopelessly mundane and out of touch with the intensity of the city. Yet, art is reflected by the environment in which it is produced. Consequently, artists living in cities are one step removed from any real life and death issues because their environment has been shaped by other humans. Physical, natural environments have a strong influence on people living in rural areas. The topography in Montana where he spent his years as a rancher is as varied and intense as the weather; both can be life threatening.
Death is an integral part of life in the country and is reflected in the most obvious ways by our relationship with animals as experienced in raising cattle, hunting wild animals, or in killing animals accidently in road-kills. We are constantly confronted by our own mortality by being involved with animals. Waddell said we are aware of being a part of the food chain and our interdependence on animals. It extends in a direct way to our intentional ecological choices of allowing agriculture, mining, and industry to pollute our streams, air, and land.
When a life is taken, the spirit is gone. As animals, we share this earth with other animals. Waddell’s work in “Hallowed Absurdities” explores that living and dying.