Storywork: The Prints of Marie Watt, from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation is the first major retrospective exhibition tracing the artist’s career in print 1996-present alongside the artist’s monumental sculpture and textile works. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated exhibition catalogue.
We gave thanks for the story, for all parts of the story
because it was by the light of those challenges we knew
ourselves—Joy Harjo (Muscogee / Creek), National Poet Laureate
Multimedia artist Marie Watt is a storyteller. As a member of the Seneca Nation (one of six that comprise the Haudenosaunee Confederacy) with German-Scots ancestry, her stories draw from Native and non-Native traditions: Greco-Roman myth, pop music and Pop art, Indigenous oral narratives, Star Wars and Star Trek.
Watt reminds us of the stories told by her Seneca ancestors: how the world came to be, what we have to learn from animals, our ethical obligations to the planet, as well as to past and future generations. She tells stories about humble, everyday materials and objects—blankets, quilts, corn husks, letters, ladders, and dreamcatchers—that carry intimate meanings and memories.
Over the course of her career, Watt has told these stories through prints. The collaborative printmaking process is consistent with Watt’s desire to build communities through art and storytelling. The stories the prints tell are personal, cultural, and universal, dealing with elemental themes of shelter, dreams, the earth and sky, and the cosmos.
As a Klamath elder once told her: “My story changes when I know your story.”
This retrospective exhibition traces Marie Watt’s career in print from 1996-present. For the first time, Watt’s early work from her MFA program at Yale, and her collaborations with master printers at Crows Shadow Institute, Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, Tamarind Institute, and more recently Mullowney Printing Company are exhibited alongside the artists monumental scale textiles and sculpture. This exhibition also explores Watt’s evolving practice of convening sewing and printing circles with family, friends and community members. The exhibition was curated in partnership with the University of San Diego by Dr. John Murphy, Philip and Lynn Straus Curator of Prints and Drawings at The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College.
Marie Watt (b. 1967) holds an MFA in painting and printmaking from Yale University; she also has degrees from Willamette University and the Institute of American Indian Arts; and in 2016 she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Willamette University.She has attended residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and the Vermont Studio Center; and has received fellowships from Anonymous Was a Woman, the Joan Mitchell Foundation, the Harpo Foundation, The Ford Family Foundation, and the Native Arts and Culture Foundation, among others.
Watt’s work in important museum collections across the United States. Selected collections include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Seattle Art Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Yale University Art Gallery, the Crystal Bridges Museum, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian and Renwick Gallery, the Tacoma Art Museum, the Denver Art Museum, and the Portland Art Museum.
The exhibition is accompanied by an exhibition catalogue that includes an artist interview with Derrick Cartwright, Director of University Galleries, University of San Diego and essays by Dr. Jolene Rickard, Associate Professor Art History at Cornell University, and the exhibition curator, Dr. John Murphy, Philip and Lynn Straus Curator of Prints and Drawings at The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College.