Native Northwest: Contemporary, opening January 2021, presented in our East Gallery, features Indigenous Pacific Northwestern artists Lillian Pitt, Joe Feddersen, Rick Bartow, and James Lavadour, and is a part of our larger presentation of artworks from the Aaron M. Memorial Collection.
Lillian Pitt is a descendent of the Warm Springs, Wasco, and Yakama tribes. Her art career began in the 1980s after taking a community college ceramics course where she fell in love with the craft. Pitt was mentored by renowned Diné (Navajo) artist and NAU alumnus RC Gorman; under his influence, she began to incorporate Northwestern Coast and Alaskan masks into her portfolio, along with clay sculptures and mixed media pieces.
Joe Feddersen is an Omak, Washington native of Okanagan Colville heritage. Feddersen’s hometown and heritage are often referenced within his artwork. After teaching art courses at Evergreen State College in Olympia, he returned to his hometown to focus on printmaking and glasswork. He is known to blend his modernist training with traditional Plateau indigenous design.
Rick Bartow is a prominent name in contemporary indigenous art. Well known for his gestural, mystical style and portraits fusing human and animal forms together, his artworks often explore themes of grief and trauma stemming from his time served in Vietnam. Bartow was a descendent of both the Wiyot and Yurok tribes local to Northern California and a registered member of the Mad River Band of Wiyot Native Americans. He died in 2016, but his legacy remains in his art.
James Lavadour, a resident of the Umatilla Reservation in northeastern Oregon and a member of the Walla Walla tribe, is most known for his landscape imagery created by applying layers of paint to wood panels and rubbing and scraping the paint to convey rain or fire. Lavadour is also the founder of the Crow’s Shadow Institute, an organization dedicated to the success of indigenous artists on the Umatilla Reservation.