March 16, 2018 Joe Feddersen: Cultural Abstractions at the Umpqua Valley Arts Center, Roseburg, OR
Joe Feddersen: Cultural Abstractions
Like all great artists, Joe Feddersen is a keen observer. He has an innate ability to see beauty in the everyday world and repackage it in a way that makes the mundane feels new, exciting and alluring. Joe can look at an unattractive electrical line tower, break it down to its simplest forms and patterns, and turn it into something beautiful. The abstract symbols and imagery of Joe’s work not only result in stunning art but also present open-ended narratives and commentary on our changing environment.
Joe Feddersen’s artistic ability to express the interrelationships between his surroundings—the modern urban landscape and the natural environment—is deeply rooted in his Plateau heritage. As a member of the Confederated Tribes of Colville (Okanagan/Sinixt) from the Inland Plateau region of the Columbia Basin, Joe draws from Plateau knowledge and carries on a long tradition of creating cognitive artwork. Renowned for their textile traditions, the tribes of the Plateau region historically created complex geometric patterns and designs inspired by what they saw in their everyday life. Feddersen transposes this practice into the 21st century by creating geometric form and design that incorporates symbols and landmarks informed by his surrounding urban environment. Objects such as electrical towers, high-rise buildings, parking lots, chain-link fences and traffic signs meld with and become part of the visual vocabulary inherited from his ancestors. By blurring the lines between past and present, traditional and contemporary, Joe creates beautiful and thought provoking artwork. His subtle touch, humor and wit draw the viewer in and challenge them to see the world through the lens of a contemporary Plateau artist.
Throughout his career as a printmaker, basket weaver, ceramic and glass artist, Feddersen has moved freely between media, the resulting artwork innately rooted in his observations of the world around him. Joe Feddersen: Cultural Abstractions explores this work by organizing and presenting selected works thematically: Cultural Abstractions, Landmarks, Roll Call and Intersections.