Joe Feddersen and Other Western Native Art Prominent in 'Without a Theme' at Pequot Museum

By Amarante, Joe | New Haven Register (New Haven, CT), April 7, 2017 | Go to article overview

Joe Feddersen and Other Western Native Art Prominent in 'Without a Theme' at Pequot Museum


Amarante, Joe, New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)


MASHANTUCKET >> Sculptor, painter and mixed-media artist Joe Feddersen was a long way from home in Washington State for a reception of his art at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum a week ago.

"These are the inland Plateau People; this is between the Cascade Mountains and the Rocky Mountains," said Feddersen, one of seven artists whose work is featured in "Without a Theme," a newly curated compilation of contemporary works on display through Nov. 2 at the museum's Mashantucket Gallery. It's a modest exhibit of 20 large-format installations from top North American artists.

But several of Feddersen's art pieces are scattered through the exhibition hall at the Pequot Museum up the road from the Oz-like Foxwoods Resort Casino in eastern Connecticut.

Sheets of printed paper are hung together in overlapping patterns in the wall-sized piece "Okanagan," named after the place he and his tribespeople are from -- stretching from northern Washington state into Canada.

"The meaning of Okanagan is like 'gathering place' or 'looks to the peak' (primarily Chopaka Peak)," Feddersen said in front of the imposing display. "...And these are the traditional designs that are overlapping (in a) grid."

He pointed to star patterns and a step pattern of pyramid shapes in the 42 panels of the "print relief stencil silagraphy."

"It's a visual language; if you know what the language is, it comes out in your mind and you can see it in the piece," he said during a reception that followed a panel discussion with a moderator and another artist, Jeff Kahm of Saskatchewan, Canada. Kahm also noted during the panel that indigenous art employs the shapes and colors of the landscapes. Feddersen's art is known for geometric patterns reflective of what is seen in the environment, landscape and his Native American heritage.

Raised on a reservation in Colville, Feddersen works with a special press to produce his many panels for the "Okanagan" piece. …

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