Portland, Oregon-based artist Marie Watt’s explorations embrace and center the histories embedded in materials. For over a decade, Watt has been working with steel I-beams, drawn to their interwoven history with the Haudenosaunee ironworkers, known as “Skywalkers” for walking across the I-beam skeletons of the skyscrapers high above the city. As one of the most recycled materials in the world, steel carries the legacy of past generations forward into the present and future, similar to how Watt works with blankets as sites of ongoing stories and symbols of our connectedness.
For Carnegie Museum of Art, Watt presents a new body of work that explores steel and glass—materials deeply tied to the region’s industrial history—from a contemporary Indigenous perspective, challenging assumed contradictions between visibility and invisibility, strength and vulnerability, and presence and absence.
Marie Watt (b. 1967, Seattle, WA) is a member of the Seneca Nation of Indians, and also has German-Scot ancestry. Her interdisciplinary work draws from history, biography, Iroquois protofeminism, and Indigenous teachings; in it, she explores the intersection of history, community, and storytelling. Through collaborative actions, she instigates multigenerational and cross-disciplinary conversations that create a lens and conversation for understanding connectedness to place, one another, and the universe.
Marie Watt is organized by Liz Park, Richard Armstrong Curator of Contemporary Art and Alyssa Velazquez, curatorial assistant for decorative arts and design.