February 10, 2014
Joe Feddersen explores the intersection of Native American traditions and contemporary life.
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"The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation in the Pacific Northwest are well-known for their geometric patterns as well as their textile traditions. A contemporary artist affiliated with this group, Joe Feddersen brings a strong background in printmaking to his work which often involves glass as well. What makes Feddersen so different is his creativity in mixing traditional patterns and textiles with current cultural iconography. Feddersen’s work has been exhibited in Washington D.C. at the National Museum of American Indian, and his work is currently in a group show at the Art Gym at Marylhurst College in Marylhurst, Oregon, entitiled "I.M.N.D.N. — Native Art for the 21st Century." He is simultaneously featured in a solo gallery exhibition "Charmed” now on view at the Froelick Gallery in Portland, Oregon. His fused glass objects in the exhibit resemble several constellations of stars — glimmering with the reflection of light and casting intriguing shadows on the walls and ground. Other works involve bold patterning on glass vessels referencing QR codes, high-voltage power lines, and other aspects of 21st-century life.
When most people think of Native American Art, they picture colorful elaborately made blankets or earthenware vessels. However, Native American art has drastically changed over the centuries and Feddersen helps remind us of the fact that art can be contemporary while also referencing traditional systems of meaning, updating and juxtaposing them with contemporary experiences.
In the "Charmed" exhibit, 168 fused glass charms made into different images and symbols are suspended from the gallery’s ceiling. Feddersen uses symbology such as human stick figures wearing cowboy hats, skulls, animals, sunglasses and even small planes, referencing issues that belie their apparent whimsy."

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