Image of a museum gallery hosting an exhibition of sculptural ceramic works by artist Betty Feves in earthen colors
2020 | Betty Feves: The Earth Itself

EXHIBITION | May 26, 2020 – February 12, 2021

“I was too much the farmer’s daughter, in a sense. You know, that marvelous dirt out there that gets turned over with a plow and getting my hands dirty was the thing that turned me on.”

ABOUT | Betty Feves: The Earth Itself presents loaned and promised works by significant yet under-recognized artist Betty Whiteman Feves (1918–1985). Feves belongs to a generation of groundbreaking artists who expanded the use of clay in art. Featuring a wide-range of art from across Feves’ career, the exhibition will include early figurative and architectural forms, functional wares, bonfire pots, and large-scale sculpture. An advocate for living locally throughout her lifetime, Feves was committed to relentless experimentation with regionally-sourced materials. She created her own clay bodies and glazes from her immediate environment and the geology of the Columbia Basin provided a lifelong reservoir of inspiration. Her work continues to be exhibited nationally and internationally, and set the stage for clay to become the expressive medium it is today.

Born into a La Crosse, Washington wheat-farming family, Feves studied art at Washington State College (now WSU) in the late 1930s under the tutelage of a young Clyfford Still, a soon-to-be leading Abstract Expressionist. She spent the early 1940s in New York attending the Art Students League and completing an MA in Art Education at Columbia University. Feves then chose to live, work, and raise her four children in Pendleton, Oregon where she remained the next 40 years. She mentored numerous young artists and advocated for the arts in education by serving on the Pendleton school board as well as the State Board for Higher Education. In 1977, Feves was one of the first recipients of the Governor’s Arts Award for the State of Oregon, for which she was recognized for both art and music.


Live Streamed Artist Talk with Namita Gupta Wiggers, Wednesday, October 28, 2020, 5:00–6:00 p.m.
ZOOM RECORDING: Namita Gupta Wiggers, Teaching Through Talking

Organized by the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU and curated by Ryan Hardesty. The museum acknowledges the scholarship of Namita Gupta Wiggers who authored the publication Betty Feves: Generations in tandem with a 2012 exhibition of the same title held at the Museum of Contemporary Craft and in partnership with Pacific Northwest College of Art.

Funding for this exhibition is provided by Alan and Laurie Feves, the Samuel H. and Patricia W. Smith Endowment, Patrick and Elizabeth Siler, and members of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU.

LOCATION | The  Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU is located in the Crimson Cube (on Wilson Road across from Martin Stadium and the CUB) on the WSU Pullman campus. For more information please contact the museum at 509-335-1910. The museum is currently open Tuesday through Friday from 1-4 PM, Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM, and closed Sunday and Monday.