Deciphering the "Synecdoche" mural with RYAN! Feddersen

November 30, 2019 | Elliot Trotter

Artist RYAN! Feddersen (Okanogan/Lakes) is inspired by Indigenous traditions of communal practice. RYAN!'s 60-foot-tall mural, “Synecdoche," represents intersections between history, culture, and contemporary pop culture in the Pacific Northwest.

Posted: November 30, 2019

RYAN! Feddersen

My name is RYAN! Feddersen. I am a visual artist based in Tacoma, Washington and I created "Synecdoche" for the Burke Museum.

I'm inspired by Indigenous traditions of communal practice. I believe in making works that can be touched, that are for community and about community. 

"Synecdoche" was inspired by seeing the connections and continuum of visual motifs throughout history, culture, and contemporary pop culture in the Pacific Northwest. The glyphs in "Synecdoche" are drawn from a lot of sources. I met with a representative from almost every area of the Burke's research. There's a variety of references to favorite specimens to research. All placed in a way that connects them to other areas of the museum. 

Knowing that the building was going to have a crisp and industrial minimal aesthetic I felt that the black and white silhouettes and pops of color would compliment the architecture of the building. 

Synecdoches are a figurative expression wherein a larger idea is substituted with a specific. And so, in this piece, I'm encouraging people to look for synecdoches both in the piece as well as in the museum. To think about how different symbols can represent larger ideas. And how those larger ideas interact with each other.

There are numerous references and things to discover but that's left for the viewer.