April 15, 2024
3 minute read

Storywork: The Prints of Marie Watt from the Collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation

Marie K. Watt (Seneca, born 1967), Companion Species (Cosmos), 2017. Reclaimed wool blankets, embroidery floss, 24k gold wrapped silk embroidery floss and thread, 31 x 37 in. Collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer. Photo by Strode Photographic. 

Sacramento, Ca., April 15, 2024 — The Crocker Art Museum is pleased to announce Storywork: The Prints of Marie Watt from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation on view from June 30 through October 20, 2024. This exhibition of more than 60 prints, sculptures, and textiles—plus four additional works from the Crocker’s permanent collection—traces Watt’s career from 1996 to the present. For the first time, the artist’s early work and collaborations with master printers are exhibited in conjunction with her monumental textiles and sculptures.  

Marie Watt’s art draws from Native American traditions, imagery, and teachings, as well as history, popular culture, and her own biography. Her work underscores the sacred role of storytelling throughout history and place, delving into activism and social justice, as well as more elemental themes such as dreams, myths, memories, earth, and the cosmos.  

“This exhibition highlights Watt’s abilities as a storyteller, as well as other themes that recur in her practice,” notes Scott A. Shields, the Crocker’s Ted and Melza Barr Chief Curator & Associate Director. “Many of her works reference Indigenous oral narratives and history, Seneca creation tales, and Seneca principles related to ecological stewardship. She reminds us through the lens of her ancestors of our collective beginnings and of our need to protect the planet.” 

Watt’s multi-disciplinary practice incorporates many societal and art-historical forces, including traditional Native American ceremonies and symbols, Greco-Roman mythology, the pop culture myths of Star Trek and Star Wars, and the geometries of minimalism. Much of her work makes it clear that Seneca culture—and, by extension, Native American culture broadly—not only remains vital but is ever responsive to a dynamically evolving, societal landscape. 

Born in Seattle in 1967, Watt is the granddaughter of Wyoming ranchers. She is also an enrolled member of the Turtle Clan of the Seneca Nation (one of six that comprise the Haudenosaunee Confederacy). She has described herself as “half cowboy and half Indian,” and is ever conscious of the entangled histories of colonizer and colonized. She now lives in Portland, Oregon.  

Storywork is centered around Watt’s prints. Over the course of her career, Watt has collaborated with master printers in Oregon and New Mexico, having first been introduced to printmaking as an undergraduate at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, where she earned a degree in speech communications and art. She also took printmaking classes while attending the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, studying under the artist and Indigenous activist Jean LaMarr and receiving an Associate of Fine Arts degree in museum studies. In 1996, she completed an MFA in painting and printmaking at Yale. Since then, she has returned to printmaking repeatedly, the collaborative process in line with her aim to build communities through art. 

Drawn from the collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation, Storywork: The Prints of Marie Watt was organized in partnership with University Galleries, University of San Diego, curated by John Murphy, Ph.D. Hoehn Curatorial Fellow for Prints. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with essays by curator John Murphy and Jolene Rickard, associate professor in the Department of the History of Art and Visual Studies at Cornell University. 


  • Tour: Storywork: The Prints of Marie Watt from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation – Wednesday, August 14  

  • Material Explosion: Towering Textiles Inspired by Storywork: The Prints of Marie Watt from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation – Saturday, August 24 

  • Teacher Workshop: Printmaking – Friday, August 2