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Renowned Montana artist Nancy Erickson has died

Nancy Erickson working in her Pattee Canyon studio in Missoula, MT.
Courtesy of Slikati Photography
Nancy Erickson working in her Pattee Canyon studio in Missoula, MT.

A renowned Montana artist of international standing died in Missoula this week.

MTPR's Edward O’Brien has more on the life and legacy of Nancy Erickson.

The Missoula Art Museum’s Senior Curator says Nancy Erickson was a true pioneering artist in the 60’s and 70’s. Brandon Reintjes says Erickson broke free of the squares and rectangles long associated with traditional quilts and paintings and started experimenting with asymmetrical forms.

"She did things that nobody else did, and where she arrived at this blend between painting and quilting and drawing was really radical."

Erickson recently gifted nearly two dozen pieces of her work to the Missoula Art Museum.

Reintjes says her fabric constructions, quilts, and paintings, which have been honored and displayed at hundreds of global exhibitions, reflected her concerns about the planet, humanity and wildlife.

"She was always an activist and had a very strong relationship to the natural world."

Reintjes says Nancy Erickson was a delightful woman who helped mentor and encourage aspiring artists.

"She would make you feel like you were the person that she had been waiting to see all day and that you were making a contribution so that you were part of the collective that was making things better."

Nancy Erickson passed away Monday at the age of 86. She’s survived by her two daughters and her longtime partner, former state legislator Ron Erickson.

Memorial arrangements have not yet been announced.

Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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