j o h n f e o d o r o v
Born in Los Angeles of mixed Navajo (Diné) and European American heritage, John Feodorov grew up in the suburbs of Southern California while making annual visits to his family's land on the Navajo Reservation. The time he spent with his grandparents on their homestead near the Anasazi ruins at Chaco Canyon New Mexico continues to inform his work.
Feodorov is interested in creating art that both engages and confronts the viewer; often utilizing pop culture detritus, as well as sound and video, to create works that question ideas and assumptions about Spirituality, Identity and Place. His work explores the longing for spiritual (re)connection that can be easily exploited by charlatans, corporations and political forces. In addition, his paintings and drawings are experiments in creating hybrid mythical iconographies that respond to issues such as environmental disasters, consumerism, and post-Colonial identity.
Feodorov is currently an Associate Professor of Art at Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies at Western Washington University in Bellingham Washington. In 2001 he was featured in the first season of the PBS television series, "Art 21: Art for the 21st Century" as well as in the companion book published by Harry N. Abrams. His work also appears in such publications as Time and Time Again, by Lucy R. Lippard; Manifestations, edited by Nancy Marie Mithlo; and A World of Art, edited by Henry M. Sayre. He served as an Arts Commissioner for the City of Seattle, worked as an artist/educator for various non-profit youth groups in the Seattle area
My work meanders around meaning and identity and the ways we seek to locate them within our lives. Sometimes this search can seem like an act of desperation—a longing for a Something, an Other, that may or may not exist. I think that my paintings and drawings are a reflection of how I try to balance this subconscious longing within my own life. Intentionally ambiguous and dreamlike, they imply a meaningful narrative that often does not exist outside the mind of the viewer. Ultimately, my hope is that they act as catalysts for critical thinking and meditation. The installations, assemblages and video works on the other hand can be interpreted as failed attempts to resolve the contradictions between a desire for a sense of “authentic” connection and the influences of global capitalism and individualism.
Years ago I visited the Anasazi ruins at Chaco Canyon N.M. during the much-hyped Harmonic Convergence, when people were gathering at numerous sacred sites around the world. Inside one of the large kivas, a group of spiritual pilgrims formed a circle while sitting in lotus position. In the center, they erected a plastic totem pole, an object possessing no significance to native peoples of the Southwest. For me, their well-intentioned act seemed more like desecration than a spiritual reconnecting to nature or the divine. It is these kinds of sincere yet misguided acts that intrigue me as an artist.
I try to complicate the relationship between profane and sacred through my work. I believe one of the most important things art can do is trigger a disruption of our conscious selves; overturning our checkerboard of assumptions and opinions. And perhaps this disruption is the most important kind of “spiritual experience" we can have.
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