Marie Watt, Three Sisters: Cousin Rose, Four Pelts, and Sky Woman (2007), stacked and folded reclaimed wool blankets, cedar base [Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Salem OR, Feb 4-Apr 1] Collection of the Seattle Art Museum
Marie Watt is a multidisciplinary artist from Portland, Oregon. Her father was the son of Wyoming ranchers and her mother a daughter of the Turtle Clan, Seneca Nation. She identifies herself as half Cowboy and half Indian.
Watt uses her artwork to emphasize the kinds of shared human experience that defy personal boundaries of tradition, ethnicity and heritage. She explores elements of daily ritual and storytelling with everyday objects and natural materials. At its core, her artwork is about human interconnectedness and commonalities among cultures and their histories.
Lodge, Watts mid-career retrospective, features a range of work from the past decade. Included are mixed-media sculptural pieces, portraits formed from reclaimed fabric, and a large, cave-like felt installation that honours the act of storytelling. Her celebrated sculptures, Blanket Stories, use repurposed wool blankets in folded and stacked sculptures that are part totem and part pop art. The iconic works are reminiscent of our primal connection to wool as an animal product and blankets as objects of necessity that conform to the shape of the body, providing warmth and protection.
For the Lodge exhibit, Watt solicited approximately 100 used blankets from the public for use in an ongoing piece titled Dwelling. Each blanket contains a tag describing its history. At the conclusion of the exhibit, the blankets will be donated to various social service organizations.