Cowboy and Indian

09.14.12

The Seneca Tartan?

The Daily Pic: Marie Watt rethinks America's blankets.

I saw this lovely reworking of found blankets, by Marie Watt, at Greg Kucera Gallery in Seattle. Watt says she is “half cowboy, half Indian” (from the Turtle Clan of the Seneca Nation), and often makes work that addresses that split. But the tartans in this one, which is called “Transportation Object,” seem to speak more to Watt’s European side – although any culture that confronted English colonizers also met up with plaids from Scotland. I still remember the feel and appeal of the satin edging on a cheap blue blanket that somehow came to me as a kid. (I don’t think my modernist parents could have brought such a thing into our house.) Watt’s work lets me revisit that pleasure, and recall the guilt I knew I should feel at being taken in by a facile fabric effect. I can barely imagine what tartan might have done to my psyche.

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