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With recent exhibits at the Aldrich Museum of Art in Ridgefield, CT, the Nicolaysen Museum of Art in Casper, WY and the Boise Art Museum in Boise, ID, among others, plus numerous awards including Anonymous Was A Woman (2007), Fabric Workshop + Museum Residency (2007), and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellowship (2006), Marie Watt is rapidly gaining national attention.
Watt is an artist of ideas, expressing those ideas in the medium(s) best suited to her thoughts and explorations of personal and cultural histories. The current exhibit at PDX Contemporary Art, Watt continues to explore the history and mythology of blankets, which can have personal associations, family connection and community affiliations; there are few people who do not have a "Blanket Story." In exploring this multi-faceted theme, Watt draws from her Seneca heritage (traditional imagery & totems) and academic background (Art History), creating a body of work that appeals to a broad audience at multiple levels.
The exhibit at PDX will include large and small blanket works, plus sculpture. The show includes brand new work along with recent pieces that have been in traveling museum exhibits the last two years.
I remain interested in the history and stories connected with the common wool blanket. For this project, I have used military and disaster-relief blankets. Earlier in my process, I felt conflicted about working with this type of blanket. I have fond memories of two green army blankets in my childhood station wagon that were used for picnics, changing tires, and covering-up to stay warm. But I am also well aware that there are many stories that accompany these objects, belonging to men and women who serve. Some of these stories are recorded and others are unspoken, concealed, or buried.
While many comforting associations accompany blankets, so do tragic and sad ones. Similarly, this project mines a broad range of topics that stem from this humble yet loaded object. While I never set out to make work of a political nature, I think that the social and political issues in the world today weigh heavily on my conscience, and so, too, have they woven themselves into this work.
- Marie Watt, February 2007