Marie Watt is an American artist and citizen of the Seneca Nation with German-Scots ancestry. Her work draws from history, biography, Iroquois protofeminism, and Indigenous teachings; in it, she explores the intersection of history, community, and storytelling. Through collaborative actions she instigates multigenerational and cross-disciplinary conversations that might create a lens for understanding connectedness to place, one another, and the universe.
Her process is both solitary and cooperative. Small works are personal meditations. Larger works are made in community, notably in sewing circles, public events in which anyone may participate. The fellowship and storytelling that takes place around the worktable is as important as the object that grows out of it.
Watt holds an MFA in painting and printmaking from Yale University; she attended Willamette University and the Institute of American Indian Arts; and in 2016 she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Willamette University.
She has attended a number of residencies, including those at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and the Vermont Studio Center; and she has received fellowships and awards from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, Anonymous Was a Woman, and the Ford Family Foundation. Watt was the 2005 recipient of the Seattle Art Museum’s Betty Bowen Award and is a 2019 recipient of a Fuel Their Fire residency at the Tacoma Museum of Glass. She currently serves on the board for VoCA (Voices in Contemporary Art) and on the Native Advisory Board for the Portland Art Museum.
Selected collections include the Seattle Art Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Yale University Art Gallery, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, National Gallery of Canada, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian and Renwick Gallery, the Tacoma Art Museum, the Fabric Workshop and Museum, the Denver Art Museum, the Portland Art Museum, and the Library of Congress.
Watt has received public art commissions from the Tacoma Art Museum, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Denver Art Museum, and the United States Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, through the US State Department’s Art in Embassies program.
Watt’s work is featured in the 2019 exhibitions Making Knowing: Craft in Art, 1950–2019 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; and Place, Nations, Generations, Beings: 200 Years of Indigenous North American Art at Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT.
Watt was born and raised in Seattle, Washington, and currently resides in Portland, Oregon.