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About

Bio

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 colonized identities.

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 Art + Religion, edited by Aaron Rosen. He served as an Arts Commissioner for the City of Seattle and has worked as an artist/educator for various non-profit youth groups in the Seattle area.

Artist Statement

My work meanders around meaning, 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've tried to balance this subconscious longing within my own life. Often ambiguous and dreamlike, they imply a meaningful narrative that often does not exist outside the mind of the viewer. 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. Recently, my work has taken on a greater urgency as political and corporate interests become more brazen in claiming and exploiting indigenous land and polluting the planet for profit. While I am not interested in making topical works, my hope is that my art might act as a catalyst for critical thinking, meditation and possible social action.

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, this well-intentioned (if insulting) act seemed more like desecration than spiritual reconnection. It is these kinds of sincere yet misguided acts that intrigue me as an artist.

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.

Manifesto

I am for an art that kicks my soul in the ass. And if we do not have souls, I am for an art that makes me feel like I have a soul, and that it has just been kicked in the ass.

Exhibits

Selected solo and two-person shows

Year Description
2017 “On The Absurdity of Truth” – (Solo Show) Slocumb Galleries at East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN.
2013 “Emergence” – (Solo show) 4Culture Gallery, King Co. Arts Commission, Seattle WA.
2011 “Emergence” – (Solo show) Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Santa Fe, NM.
“The Way Things Are” - (Solo show) Anchor Arts Space, Anacortes, WA.
2009 “Ambiguities” - (Solo show) South Seattle Community College, Seattle, WA.
2008 “Ruminations and Pontifications” - (Solo show) Sheehan Gallery, Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA.

Selected invitational group exhibitions

Year Description
2018 “Modest Forms of Biocultural Hope” – Western Gallery, Western WA. Universtiy, Bellingham WA.
“Postcards For The Creek” – Project curated by Vaughn Bell for Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle, WA.
“In Red Ink”, Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, WA.
“Crow's Shadow Institute of the Arts at 25” – Project curated by Vaughn Bell for Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle, WA.
2016 “We The People”. Curated by Wendy Red Star. Mary Elizabeth Dee Shaw Gallery at Weber State University, Ogden, UT.
  “Cultural Perspectives”, Seattle Municipal Tower Gallery, Seattle WA.
2015 “Not Vanishing” – Museum of Northwest Art, La Conner WA.
  “Stilleven: Contemporary Still Life” – Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Willamette University, Salem OR.
2014 “Making Marks: Prints from the Crow’s Shadow Press” – Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, D.C.
  “Storytelling: The Contemporary Native Art Biennial, 2nd edition” Curated by Michael Patten – Art Mûr Gallery, Montreal, Canada.
  “Wendy Red Star’s Wild West & Congress of Rough Riders of the World” – Bumbershoot Festival. Seattle, WA.
  “ELEVEN: The John Erickson Museum of Art (JEMA) 10-Year Retrospective” – Bob Rauschenberg Gallery, Fort Myers, Fl.
2013 3 “Native Voices and Identity Narratives” – Group Invitational. A.D. Gallery, Univ. of N. Carolina, Pembroke, N.C.
  “Reach” – Eastworks, Easthampton, MA.
  “Native Vangard” – Zane Bennett Gallery, Santa Fe, NM. (Catalog)
2011 “New Native Photography, 2011” – New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, NM.
2010 “A Torrent of Words: Contemporary Art and Language” - Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI.
  “A Long Drawn Out Process” - Anchor Arts Space, Anacortes, WA.
  “Copyright Humain” - Museum of Human Civilization, Quebec City, Quebec Canada.
2009 “Contemporary Voices in Visual Narrative" - University of Utah, Logan, UT.
2008-9 “Trespassing” - Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, WA.
2008 “Packed: Portable Views Of Varied Terrain” - Duncan Gallery of Art, Stetson University, Deland, FL.

Selected awards and residencies

Year Description
2015 Purchase of print, “Vanitas #1”, by the Fine Print and Photography department of the Library of Congress
  “MAP(ing) Project” – printmaking residency, Arizona State Univ. Phoenix, AZ.
2011 Artist Residency – Crow’s Shadow Institute, Pendleton, OR. 2011.
Joan Mitchell Foundation - Nominee, New York, NY.
2010 Native Arts & Cultures Foundation Grant– Vancouver, WA. 2010.
2008 GAP Grant - Artist Trust, Seattle WA.
  Individual Projects Grant - 4Culture (King County Arts Commission), Seattle WA.
  Joan Mitchell Foundation - Nominee, New York, NY.

Selected related activities

Year Description
2018 Jury Panel for "The Neddy" – Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle, WA. July. 2018
2017 Visiting Artist Lecture – Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA. Nov. 2017
  Visiting Artist Lecture – Boise State University, Boise ID. Oct. 2017.
  Visiting Artist Lecture – Eastern Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN. Sept. 2017.
“Re:Defintion” – Curated pop-up exhibition/benefit for Standing Rock Water Protector Legal Collective as part of Seattle Theater Group’s Re:Definition event at Seattle’s Paramount Theater. Jan. 19, 2017.
2016 Visiting Artist Lecture - Whatcom Museum, Bellingham WA. 2016.
2015-16 Ambassador for Artists Up, a collaboration of three funding agencies [4Culture, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and Artist Trust] to improve and expand capacity and networks for artists in Seattle, King County and Washington State. 2015-2016.
2015 Panelist – “Contention and Curation: The Future of Native American Art”, Native American Art Studies Association (NAASA) Biennial Conference, Santa Fe, NM. 2015.
  Panelist – “Not Vanishing”, exhibition panel, Museum of Northwest Art, La Conner WA. 2015.
  Panelist – “Not Vanishing”, panel on the exhibit, Evergreen State College, Olympia WA. 2015.
2014 Lecture – Western Washington University, Bellingham WA. 2014
  Panelist – Panel on race and the arts organized by the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, Seattle Rep. Theater, Seattle WA. 2014.
  Lecture – “When Is An Indian Not An Indian”, Whatcom Museum, Bellingham WA. 2014.
  Panelist – “Our Town” Public Art funding, National Endowment for the Arts, Washington D.C. 2012 and 2014.
2011 Visiting Artist Lecture – Portland State University, Portland OR. 2011.
  Community Workshop – Crow’s Shadow Institute, Pendleton OR. 2011
2009 Visiting Artist Lecture – Portland Museum of Art, Portland OR. 2009
  Visiting Artist Lecture – University of Florida, Gainesville FL. 2009.
2008 Visiting Artist Lecture – University of Rochester, Rochester, NY. 2008.
  Visiting Artist Lecture – Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI. 2008.

Filmography

Year Description
2001 Art 21: Art for the 21st Century - Featured artist in the PBS television series and companion book. Produced by Susan Sollins for Art 21 Inc., 2001.

Selected bibliography and reviews

Platt, Susan Noyes, "Indigenous Artists and Contemporary Environmental Issues Part II", Art and Politics Now (blog), Aug. 2018. <http://www.artandpoliticsnow.com/2018/08/indigenous-artists-and-contemporary-environmental-issues-part-ii/>
Platt, Susan Noyes, "In Red Ink" review, Art Acess, 2018. <http://www.artaccess.com/articles/6653097>
Sillman, Marcie, Artist Interview, KUOW Radio 94.9 FM, Seattle, 2017. <http://kuow.org/post/artist-navajo-dont-call-his-work-native-american-art>
Hill, Scotti, “We are the People: Experiments in Contemporary Indigenism…”, 15 Bytes magazine, Mar. 4, 2016. <http://artistsofutah.org/15Bytes/index.php/we-are-the-people-experiments-in-contemporary-indigenism-at-wsus-shaw-gallery/>
Rosen, Aaron, Art & Religion in the 21st Century, Thames & Hudson, New York, NY. 2015.
Lippard, Lucy R., Time and Time Again, Museum of New Mexico Press, Santa Fe, NM. 2013.
Manitach, Amanda, “The Image That Moves ”, City Arts magazine, Seattle WA. Nov. 13, 2013. <http://www.cityartsonline.com/articles/image-moves>
Dorfman, John, “Native Ability”, Art & Antiques, Summer 2013.
Joyce, Erin, ed. “Who Is That?”, featured artist ULTRA:EXTRA magazine, Jan 2013.
Mithlo, Dr. Nancy Marie, ed. Manifestations: New Native Art Criticism, IAIA, Santa Fe, NM. 2011.
McGraw, Kate, “A Year of Memorable Shows, Artists”, Albuquerque Journal North, Dec. 30, 2011.
Roberts, Kathaleen, “In Their Own Image”, Albuquerque Journal North, Aug. 12, 2011.
Daffron, Brian, “Alienation and Native Culture in John Feodorov’s Art”, Indian Country Today, April 15, 2011.
Evans, Lara, “Emergence by John Feodorov at Santa Fe’s MoCNA” (blog), March 29, 2011.
Molla, Rani, “Emergency”, Santa Fe Reporter, Jan. 19, 2011.
McGraw, Kate, “Identity and Alienation”, Albuquerque Journal North, Jan. 14, 2011.
Allard, Nicole, “L’humain, cet animal pensant…”, Vie Des Arts, No. 218, Printemps, 2010.
Platt, Susan Noyes, Review - Art and Politics Now (blog), July 1, 2009. <http://artandpoliticsnow.blogspot.com/2009/07/john-feodorovs-spiritual-amibituitites.html>
Naidus, Beverly, Arts For Change, New Village Press, Oakland CA. 2009.
Bikman, Margaret, The Bellingham Herald, Interview, Jan. 18, 2009.
Sayre, Henry M., A World of Art, 5th & 6th editions, Pearson-Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ. 2007-11.