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Resounds: Tracy Linder

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Anna Paige
Artist Tracy Linder stands before one of her pieces on display at the Yellowstone Art Museum

Montana artist Tracy Linder's sense of how life and death unfold plays out through her art. Representations of the natural world, including larger-than-life wheat strands crafted from leather, stitched seed pods lined with rabbit fur, and illuminated resin wings, are all part of a retrospective of her work, titled "Open Range," which is on display at Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings through January 2021.

The exhibit represents Linder's artworks since 2007, crafted from the fabric of the earth that she harvested from the Montana prairies and informed by her ranching upbringing. Tiny birds shaped from cottonwood leaves, fallen tree limbs wrapped in leather, beeswax-coated objects, animal bones, grasses, and crops intertwined into sculpture create an elemental excavation of Montana’s land.

Linder grew up on a farm west of Billings, a cow and calf operation that encompassed all aspects of animal husbandry from life to death. She’s said that most people don’t really appreciate or understand the sacrifices that bring meals to our plates.

“My work is about bringing a new familiarity to what goes in our mouths, knowing there is a life lived to bring you sustenance, whether from animals or plants.” Tracy Linder, Nov./Dec. 2020 issue of Sculpture Magazine

Her sculptures offer viewers an opportunity to connect with the environment, perhaps even an opportunity to find new understanding, wonder and sympathy for land and farmers, agriculture and animals.

Currently, Linder maintains an artist studio at her home between Acton and Molt, where she and her husband have lived for nearly 30 years. “Open Range,” is her second solo show at the YAM and her second of 2020. Her exhibition "Omnivorous" is currently on display at the Lewistown Art Center.

Anna Paige is a poet and educator and co-founder of Billings Area Literary Arts, created from a desire to connect writers to one another and grow the literary community of Billings.
Corby Skinner is an independent marketing professional with an enormous capacity for assessing issues and creating positive, effective messages.