A reverberation occurs when a signal is reproduced in space. Although often heard as a distortion, the resulting collection of sound waves are continuously reflected until they are absorbed into their surroundings. An echo, on the other hand, is more of a recall—or one repeated trace—of the original sound. In each case, information is transformed by its environment.
Echoes and Reverberations features works by five former FWM Artists-in-Residence who chose to amplify aspects of their Native American heritage such that they resonate in our current lives. The exhibition includes works from artists Tommy Joseph of the Tlingit Tribe, Marie Watt of the Seneca Nation, James Luna of Puyukitchum, Ipai, and Mexican descent, Chilkat Weaver Anna Brown Ehlers, and Cheyenne-Arapaho artist Hachivi Edgar Heap of Birds. Each work can be seen as a confluence of tradition and present-day life, with key motifs, rituals and techniques filtered through contemporary art practices. Elements of personal identity, culture, and history blended with contemporary art practice offer perspectives on the modern-day complexities of the Native American experience. In addition to finished works on view, the show also features artist boxes providing a deeper look at the materials and process behind each project.
This exhibition is presented in partnership with the One Book, One Philadelphia project of the Free Library of Philadelphia, whose 2019-2020 citywide book club selection is There There, a novel by Cheyenne and Arapaho author Tommy Orange described as a “multi-voiced epic of 12 Native characters whose contemporary lives intertwine across the urban landscape.” Echoes and Reverberations was organized by Karen Patterson, curator at The Fabric Workshop and Museum. Patterson, formerly senior curator at John Michael Kohler Arts Center, joined FWM in July 2019.