Tacoma Art Museum – Marie Watt: Lodge

This past Saturday I visited the Tacoma Art Museum specifically to view Marie Watt: Lodge, a mid-career retrospective which was organized by the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University. It was a great experience for a number of reasons. The friend I went with is also an artist and has worked for a variety of museums, so he always has an interesting perspective. He also had donated a blanket for one of the pieces on display, which we managed to find. He located the hanging tag he had written over five years ago on a blanket midway up the stack.

I’ve read a lot about Marie Watt’s work and seen some of her prints firsthand at Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts. I hadn’t seen her blanket stacks in-person yet however, which seem to be what I thought of when her name came up. As the picture above shows, there were two of them on display. Dwelling is in the foreground and is a stack of flat blankets (it was also the one that my friend found his donated blanket in). The stack in the background was taller and featured folded blankets.

So much of her work features, incorporates, or is derived from blankets! But I hadn’t seen a lot of the other examples, which were all pretty great. I loved her smaller works stitched together from wool blanket remnants. (See below for an example of one of my favorites.) There were also stitched portraits of Joseph Beuys and Susan B. Anthony which managed to appear both stately and soft at the same time.

In addition to all of this, there were a selection of her prints on paper, all of which were very nice. It was interesting to see how they all related to each other, even though many were done years apart from each other. But the coolest part was probably Engine, which was a large installation that you can go inside. It is like a felt cave and has projected stories being told by three different individuals.

The one thing I found disconcerting was the two pieces that were cast sculptures. Although they still kept the blanket theme, and I liked them on their own well enough, they seemed a little jarring (being made of cast bronze and cast resin) compared to all of the softness of the blankets and prints. What made this visit interesting to me as well, is that the last time I was in the same gallery it had a huge wall of wool Pendleton blankets from Dale Chihuly’s collection. This time, there were still lots of blankets, but the experience was completely different.

Worked Paper (for Paperwork)

I had forgotten about a call for art I was invited to participate in over the summer. Luckily, while the initial deadline passed, they are still accepting submissions through October 15th. FICTILIS, which was in Seattle and has since moved to Oakland, CA is the organizer of this project, named Paperwork. The basic premise is to take a blank piece of paper and then alter it.

Having a little time on a Sunday afternoon, and having gotten some inspiration from a museum visit the prior day, I gave it a shot. I call the piece “Thirty Sentences.” I started by writing sentences down as they came to me, turning the paper 90 degrees for each new sentence. Then, I distressed the paper by folding it into an airplane, flying it, refolding it in the opposite direction, flying again, unfolding, marking it with a candle-flame, spraying it with oil, placing it on concrete and walking over it, placing it on dirt and walking over it, placing it on stone steps and walking over it, pressing it, cutting it, and stitching some of the cuts with thread.

It was rather fun to do! I also like that my first sentence of, “This is a blank piece of paper,” is still clearly legible. It was a true statement, but as soon as I put it onto the paper it became false.

The End of Summer

Fall has happened! Life has been busy lately, or at least, my day job has been keeping me overly occupied. The SAM Remix event was a lot of fun and great to participate in. Between work and an upcoming move, I haven’t had a chance to do as much with my art as I wanted though.

One thing that happened were some new headshots courtesy of Zorn B Taylor, one of our fellow artists from the EDGE Program. We needed photos to submit to Artist Trust and he generously offered his services at a discounted rate. Thank you Zorn!

The year isn’t over yet though. I’ve submitted some work for the CoCA Member’s Show and also will likely apply to participate in the CoCA Art Marathon this year as well. Today, a friend from the EDGE class (Phil Stoiber) and I went to the Tacoma Art Museum to check out the Marie Watt exhibit. More on that later, but it was just what I needed to get more motivation and inspiration.