Joe Feddersen

Joe Feddersen
Joe Feddersen

1953 (age 67–68)
Nationality Colville
Education BFA University of Washington, MFA University of Wisconsin–Madison
Known for Mixed-media, painting, photography, sculpture, basketry, glass

Joe Feddersen (born 1953) is a Colville sculptor, painter, photographer and mixed-media artist. He is known for creating artworks strong in geometric patterns reflective of what is seen in the environment, landscape and his Native American heritage.


Early life and higher education

Joe Feddersen was born in Washington state to a German American father and an Okanagan/Sinixt mother.[1][2]

He was first exposed to printmaking at Wenatchee Valley College under the direction of artist Robert Graves. Feddersen earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in printmaking from the University of Washington in 1983 where he studied under artists Michael Spafford and Glen Alps. In 1989 he obtained his Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Following his Masters he became an art instructor at The Evergreen State College.[1][3]

Current life

When not creating art or teaching, Feddersen also serves as a writer, curator, consultant and active member of the Colville Confederated Tribal Arts & Humanities Board. He received, in 2001, an Eiteljorg Fellowship for Native American Fine Art award.[4] In 2009 he left his teaching position at Evergreen State College and returned to Omak, Washington, his hometown. While occasionally teaching at Evergreen, he has been focusing on exploring the medium glass and has become involved with Pilchuck Glass School and the Museum of Glass.[1][2]

Artistic career

Early work

My prints and mixed media work explore personal perceptions of my surroundings...Earlier prints become the departure for new work. They incorporate printing techniques and the addition of staples, pins, mirrors, oil pastels and acrylics o achieve a rich surface quality white retaining luminosity of previous layers. - 1987[1]

Feddersen's early creations involved photography and collage self-portraits in the early 1980s, reflecting on the individual and the environment surrounding self. However, his first major work was "Rainscape"; a series of lithographs that were exhibited at the Heard Museum's 3rd Biennial Native American Fine Art Invitational.[1]

Through "Rainscape" Feddersen incorporated blended colors to form a rain-like landscape, reminiscent of the Pacific Northwest environment. This series launched Feddersen into the major contemporary art world; artists such as Jaune Quick-To-See Smith compared his use of color to Mark Rothko and Seattle Times art critic Deloris Tarzan Ament reflected on the woodblock works of Hiroshige when reviewing the works.[1][5]


In the early 1990s Feddersen created a series of monoprints based on blanket designs of the Plains Indians and Pendleton Woolen Mills. Heavy in geometry and layers and blended colors, the series were described by art scholar W. Jackson Rushing III as "watery veils of color", which brought out further comparisons to Rothko.[1]

With the series "Plateau Geometrics" Feddersen continued to create prints during the latter half of the 1990s. All of the prints in the series are one of a kind (instead of an edition) and incorporate techniques such as etching, drypoint, aquatint, blind embossing and linocuts. The prints feature a pattern of geometric forms over a gridded layout; some are flat while others have a highly textured appearance. According to the artist the works represent his homesickness and memories of living on the reservation. At the time of creation he was living and working in Seattle, on the opposite side of the Cascade Mountains that serve to separate Colville country from Seattle. The geometric patterns represent designs seen in Colville basketry and cornhusk bags, while the complete series expresses Feddersen's desire to reflect on his communities traditional culture and his modern art background.[1]

Sculpture and basketry

An Interior Salish basket with patterns similar to what Feddersen creates in his work.

Basketry entered into his catalog in the 2000s, learning Plateau-style techniques from poet and artist Elizabeth Woody. And recently his work has focused on glass making. Drawing influence from designs seen in Plateau Indian art, he creates artworks showing repeating patterns, leaving them with titles such as Cul-de-Sac, Scaffolding and Tire, a critique on contemporary life with a touch of tradition from Colville basketry.[2][3]

Major exhibitions



  • Joe Feddersen: Vital Signs, Missoula Art Museum[7]








  • 3rd Biennial Native American Fine Art Invitational, Heard Museum



Feddersen's work has also shown in numerous private galleries as well as other public institutions such as the Whatcom Museum of History and Art, Simon Fraser University, Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, Shoreline Community College, among others.[6]

Notable collections

His work is also seen in the collections of the cities of Portland, Seattle and Ephrata, Washington.[6]

Notable awards


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Rushing III, W. Jackson. Joe Feddersen: Sacred Geometry. "After the Storm" pp. 33-47. Eiteljorg Museum, 2001.
  2. ^ a b c d e Bob Hicks (2010). "Exhibit of Joe Feddersen's work at Hallie Ford Museum shows he straddles several worlds, all his own". Visual Arts Top Stories. The Oregonian. Retrieved 6 March 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b Rebecca J. Dobkins (2003). "Joe Feddersen: Prints and Baskets". Biography. Froelick Gallery. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 6 March 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Eiteljorg Fellowship (recipients, 2001)". Eiteljorg Fellowship for Native American Art. Archived from the original on 18 October 2018. Retrieved 17 May 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ a b c Elizabeth Woody (2003). "Joe Feddersen" (PDF). Continuum. National Museum of the American Indian. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 April 2011. Retrieved 6 March 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "CV". Biography. Froelick Gallery. 2010. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 6 March 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "Joe Feddersen: Vital Signs". Retrieved 2020-03-07.

Further reading

  • Allan, Lois. Contemporary Printmaking in the Northwest. Fine Art Publishing, 1997. ISBN 90-5703-131-0
  • Dobkins, Rebecca J., Barbara Earl Thomas & Gail Tremblay. Vital Signs. University of Washington Press, 2008. ISBN 0-295-98860-6
  • Kangas, Matthew. Craft & Concept: The Rematerialization of the Art Object. Midmarch Arts Press, 2008. ISBN 1-877675-56-3
  • Lippard, Lucy. Mixed Blessings: New Art in a Multicultural America. New Press, 2000. ISBN 1-56584-573-0
  • Longfish, George & David Penney. Native American Art. Universe, 1999. ISBN 0-88363-479-1
  • Mcmaster, Gerald & Clifford Trafzer. Native Universe: Voices of Indian America. National Geographic, 2004. ISBN 0-7922-5994-7
  • Penn, W.S. The Telling of the World: Native American Stories and Art. Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1996. ISBN 1-55670-488-7
  • Rushing III, W. Jackson. Native American Art in the Twentieth Century: Makers, Meanings, Histories. Routledge, 1999. ISBN 0-415-13748-9

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