In 2016, Bitterroot artist Linda Stoudt made a generous offer to gift her works to MAM’s collection. This exhibition features the 24 artworks that were selected from the voluminous offering that Stoudt made available. MAM is thrilled to honor Stoudt and her magnificent gift with this focused exhibition.
When Stoudt’s husband of 42 years died from cancer in 2012, part of her grieving process was to make art. While she worked, the word “shed” lodged in her mind—to shed tears, grief, and ultimately, a major part of her identity. A shed is also a shelter. Stoudt writes, “I found shelter from my loss in the art making process,” and titled the resulting series of work Shed.
Works from Shed center on the cancer that invaded her husband’s body. Three images painted in rich, saturated colors depict the chemotherapy drugs. Stoudt refers to the paintings as “portraits of the killer chemo drugs that took Bill away in forty-three days.” Cytarabine depicts a menacing black cube shape floating on a fleshy-pink background. The painted surface is lush, detailed, and, contrary to the morbid content, inviting exploration. The drawings are monochromatic—usually black and white—but on brown paper or often cardboard. Biopsy 5 references the physical disease with a small, broken circular form that rests lightly on a white ground. The ridges from the cardboard surface add texture and dimension to the image but also lend the quality of impermanence to the work.
The next year, Stoudt chronicled her healing process in the series AfterNow. She states, “I may glance over my shoulder occasionally, but know it is imperative to look ahead.” AfterNow explores feelings of change and constant flux. The predominant imagery focuses on walls, open vessels, and interlocking forms. The drawing #39 is a continuous line that creates two separate but connected shapes referencing communication and two being as one. Brick walls coming apart symbolize letting go of defensive attitudes and an openness to new opportunities. Despite their small scale, the works carry the substantial weight of their content. Taken together, the two series lay bare the artist’s grief and healing after profound loss.
Image: Linda Stoudt, Biopsy 5, prismacolor, pencil, and collage on paper, 2014. MAM Collection, donated by Linda Stoudt in honor of Stephen Glueckert.
First Friday with the Artist: November 3, 5–8 PM, Gallery Talk at 7 PM