Terrain: Plateau Native Art & Poetry

September 1 2015 - February 27 2016

“Defined by the crest of the Cascades to the Continental Divide, touching Northern California extending far north into British Columbia, Terrain speaks of the textures of the earth—the homeland of the Plateau people. This compilation of expressions, relief prints, and poems breathes the life of ongoing cultures inherent to place.” 

–Joe Feddersen from Terrain: Plateau Native Art & Poetry.

Terrain: Plateau Native Art & Poetry is a print portfolio donated to the Missoula Art Museum by artist and Evergreen State College Professor Emeritus Joe Feddersen. The book, curated by Feddersen, features 34 beautiful poems and woodcuts by a diverse range of American Indian artists from the Plateau peoples of the Columbia Basin. Included in the breathtaking line-up of talented artists are four of Montana’s own local legends: visual artists Corwin Clairmont (Salish-Kootenai) and Jaune Quick-to-See Smith (Salish-Kootenai, Metis-Cree, Shoshone-Bannock) and poets Debra Magpie Earling (Salish) and Victor A. Charlo (Salish-Kootenai).

Each hand-printed page will be displayed in MAM’s Lynda M. Frost Gallery, a gallery dedicated exclusively to featuring contemporary American Indian artists. This arrangement will allow the viewer to experience the beautiful portfolio in a continuous flow of verse and mark-making. In addition, MAM will feature a large-scale monoprint triptych created by Joe Feddersen at the University of Montana’s MATRIX Press in the spring of 2014. The triptych, entitled Fish Trap, displays Feddersen’s masterful approach to presenting traditional native objects in a modern, engaging manner. Feddersen donated Fish Trap to MAM’s Permanent Collection in 2014.

Terrain celebrates the unity, creativity, and diversity of the Plateau peoples and their deep connection to place. The portfolio features coyote stories, and the artworks address spiritual relationship to place, political concerns, descriptions of the land, and aspects of the family.

As Feddersen explains in his curatorial comments, “Terrain showcases the individual in the context of the larger group, bringing people together, creating new friendships, recalling common histories, and strengthening community.”

Although curated by Joe Feddersen, Terrainis clearly a labor of love involving many collaborators: “The success of Terrain: Plateau Art and Poetry is due to the generous funding from the Longhouse at the Evergreen State College, along with the guidance and assistance of Laura Grabhorn. We are indebted to Zoltan Grossman for the wonderful map of the Plateau, to Commercial Printing of Wenatchee, Wash. for the cutting of the paper, and to the numerous volunteers like Vicki Harlan, Todd Clark, Susan Aurand, and Joe Tougas. Judith Baumann contributed to the success by guiding the printing and the artists, including Corwin Clairmont, Cameron Decker, Susan Sheoships, RYAN! Feddersen, Bill Passmore, Vanessa Enos, Ramon Murillo, Toma Villa, Ron Carraher, Miles Miller, Kirby Stanton & Joe Feddersen.” –From Terrain: Plateau Art and Poetry.

Missoula Art Museum would like to thank Joe Feddersen for the generous gifts of Terrain and the Fish Trap triptych, and Corwin Clairmont for taking our copy of Terrain to the opening celebration last fall in Olympia, Wash. to gather signatures by the artists. Both Joe and Corwin have been invaluable supporters of MAM over the years. This project is also supported by the Montana Arts Council, a state agency funded by the State of Montana and the National Endowment for the Arts.