Theodore Waddell was born in Billings, MT in 1941 and raised in Laurel, MT. He studied at the Brooklyn Museum Art School, Eastern Montana College, and Wayne State University, Detroit (MFA, 1968). Waddell taught at the University of Montana from 1968 to 1976 and has since been a full time artist and rancher. He has had over ninety one man exhibitions, including a major survey at the Eiteljorg Museum, Indianapolis.
In 1968 Waddell joined the University of Montana art faculty, teaching sculpture and design. For eight years he lived in Arlee, teaching at the University and creating many minimalist-influenced, polished steel sculptures that can still be viewed in many towns and cities across the state. ”When we were living in the mountains, making sculpture made sense and it fit within the context of the narrow mountain valleys,” Waddell says.
In 1976 Waddell left UM and took a job as a manager for a large ranch north of Laurel owned by relatives of his wife Betty. ”On the prairie, where you can see for 150 miles in any direction, sculpture made no sense to me,” he said, ”I couldn’t afford to make sculpture on the scale necessary for it to make sense so I went back to drawing and painting, drawing first, and then , after feeling the need for a scale change, painting our black cows.” For years, Waddell ranched and painted, rarely showing any of his work.
Waddell left the ranching life in 1995, moving to the Gallatin Valley east of Bozeman. He now divides his time between homes in Sheridan, Wyoming and Hailey, Idaho, where his wife, Lynn Campion, a writer and photographer, teaches at the Sun Valley Art Center.
Bio excerpts: Visions West Galleries