Marie Watt is an American artist of Seneca (Turtle Clan, Haudenosaunee), Scottish and German descent who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York and Portland, Oregon. Her work draws upon Indigenous design principles, oral tradition, personal experience, and western art history. Watt’s approach to art-making is shaped by the proto-feminism of Haudenosaunee matrilineal customs, political work by Native artists in the 1960s, and a discourse on multiculturalism.
In this body of work, Watt utilizes reclaimed wool blankets to explore the confluence of myth, history and memory. The wool blanket itself evokes multiple referents in the history of art and Native/white experiences of colonialism. The artist unravels these complex and difficult histories of cross-cultural exchange in the reclamation of these blankets and their stories, interpreting them into twenty-first century visual statements and cultural histories.
Watt earned her Bachelor’s degree from Willamette University in Salem, OR, a Museum Studies degree from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, and her MFA from Yale University, School of Art in 1996. Her work has been widely exhibited and received numerous awards, including the 2011 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, 2010 Native Arts & Cultures Foundation Fellowship, 2009 Bonnie Bronson Fellowship Award, 2007 Anonymous Was a Woman Award, 2006 Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellowship and 2005 Eiteljorg Fine Art Fellowship. Her work is included in collections of the Hallie Ford Museum, Eiteljorg Museum, Smithsonian National Museum of American Indian and the Seattle Art Museum.