The Rockwell Museum Debuts New Blanket Stories Exhibit by Marie Watt

Marie Watt, Seneca Native artist, pictured with her latest sculpture “Blanket Stories: Western Door, Salt Sacks and Three Sisters” that debuted today at The Rockwell Museum in Corning, NY. (PRNewsfoto/The Rockwell Museum)

Published May 7, 2017

CORNING, NEW YORK — The Rockwell Museum today announced the opening of its newest exhibition, Blanket Stories: Western Door, Salt Sacks and Three Sisters by artist Marie Watt. A monumental new sculpture, created with blankets, quilts, and afghans contributed by residents of the greater Corning and Upstate Finger Lakes communities of New York, will be on display until September 5, 2017.

Blanket Stories: Western Door, Salt Sacks, and Three Sisters is a collaboration between artist Marie Watt, The Rockwell Museum, and the greater Corning, NY, community, as well as an ongoing series in the artist’s practice. Watt – who draws upon biography, history, Iroquois teachings, and Seneca proto-feminism – was invited by The Rockwell to gather stories that tether people to place and community

Each story is represented by a textile in this sculpture. The textiles were contributed in response to a call for blankets and their stories from the community including local residents, the greater Finger Lakes region, and friends of The Rockwell. While each blanket in this column represents one person’s story, it also serves as a marker for the collective memory of a larger extended family. Each story communicates the universal nature of our shared human condition and has the potential to unite us.

“Blankets are everyday objects. We take them for granted, yet as we use them, they quietly record our histories: a lumpy shape, a worn binding, mended patches,” says Watt. “Every blanket holds a story, and with the secondhand and thrift-store blankets I use in much of my work, I can only guess at the story. But when I can work with contributed blankets and learn about the stories attached to them, they remain with the blankets in their installations, and are also transcribed and collected, so that others can share them.”

“Marie’s work is a compelling story that connects the local Corning community with its deep-rooted Seneca and Iroquois history,” says Brian Lee Whisenhunt, executive director of The Rockwell Museum. “We believe her vision is directly in line with The Rockwell’s programming and community connections and look forward to having the installation remain part of our permanent collection and eventually installed in our Modern and Contemporary gallery.”

Each blanket has been photographed and can be viewed by the public at: http://www.mariewattstudio.com/projects/western-door

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