University Galleries Hosts the Largest Exhibition of Artist Marie Watt's Prints, Sculpture and Textiles, Honoring Native American Narratives

University Galleries Hosts the Largest Exhibition of Artist Marie Watt's Prints, Sculpture and Textiles, Honoring Native American Narratives

Storywork: The Prints of Marie Watt from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation, in partnership with the University of San Diego (USD), will open at University Galleries on the University of San Diego’s campus on February 4. Marie Watt has produced monumental sculpture, compelling textiles, and socially-engaged prints for almost 30 years, showcasing deep reverence for indigenous narratives, especially those informed by her own Seneca heritage. 

Storywork is a comprehensive look at Watt’s 30-year career, including more than sixty original prints spanning her graduate student days at Yale University to her thriving studio practice in Portland, Oregon. Watt will share this free exhibit with the local community at the University of San Diego while also serving as Knapp Chair of Liberal Arts from February 16 through March 1, connecting with students, faculty and the local Native American community. 

Storywork grew out of the opportunity to reflect on the continual thread of printmaking and collaboration in my practice. The more I consider social engagement, the more I believe printmaking embodies what I value in the process of making conversation with others.  In the community, that is a print studio, something beyond oneself is realized. It is not just what is inscribed on the page, it is the active energy, conversation and exchange, with master printers, fellow artists, and community that is imprinted upon a humble piece of paper,” said Marie Watt.

Storywork represents the first occasion the artist’s career-long fascination with etching, lithography, and woodblock printing receives the full curatorial recognition it deserves. Watt’s pieces frequently combine contemporary texts and imagery from traditional Native sources.  Watt’s original graphics will be shown alongside her “blanket stacks” and large-scale textiles, all of which are being lent from the extraordinary holdings of Jordan Schnitzer and the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation.

Storywork: The Prints of Marie Watt is the culmination of several years of collaboration between the artist, the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation, and University Galleries at the University of San Diego. This exhibition is accompanied by a 192-page fully-illustrated catalogue, with scholarly essays by John P. Murphy (Vassar College) and Jolene Rickard (Cornell University), in addition to an interview with the artist by Derrick Cartwright (University of San Diego) and a brief appreciation of Watt’s significance by Schnitzer. 

“I often say artists are chroniclers of our time.  Marie Watt reminds us of the often overlooked wisdom of her indigenous ancestors alongside her keen observations of modern culture.  Marie has been celebrated nationally for her ability to show us important teachings through her large scale sculptures and her use of everyday materials.  Having collected Marie’s art for over 20 years, I am thrilled that Marie’s long career and innovation in print is finally getting the appreciation it deserves in this exhibition,” said Jordan Schnitzer of The Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation.

The exhibition is available to view at the University of San Diego in three locations on campus: the Hoehn Family Galleries, David W. May Gallery, and Copley Library from February 4  through May 13, 2002 (Monday-Friday, noon to 5 p.m.). Information on the exhibition, catalogue, public programs and Watt’s residency can be found on the websites of the University Galleries, as well as The Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation

University Galleries’ mission is to provide the community with direct access to the finest things that artists have created. All programs at University Galleries are free. After its inaugural display in San Diego, Storywork: The Prints of Marie Watt will travel with some variation to Cornell University’s Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, the Krannert Art Museum at University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, the Art Museum at West Virginia University, Morgantown, and the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento.

About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 8,000 students from 75 countries and 44 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. USD’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the Knauss School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. In 2021, USD was named a “Laudato Si’ University” by the Vatican with a seven-year commitment to address humanity’s urgent challenges by working together to take care of our common home.


Elena Gomez
(619) 260-2739