Map Paintings

Mapping and GPS technology are generally trusted sources that are expected to direct the viewer to their desired location with precise and accurate information. I am interested in manipulating the logic of these trusted structures, using the map as a template and arena to reorient our relationship to imagery and media. My work interrogates the integrity and stability of images as well as their potential to serve as cultural material. Reality TV shows, landscape painting, cell phone towers disguised as trees all aid and abet in the collective understanding of the world as an abbreviated version of itself that blurs the lines between reality and a highly edited production. Digital editing processes leave no physical proof of manipulation – camouflaged in a desperate attempt to not be exposed as a fraud. In my paintings the evidence of the layering, decision-making and editing is apparent and essential. I exploit the materiality of the medium to reveal and conceal the construction of the identity of the paintings. The buildup of texture on the surface of the paintings provides historical clues to what previously existed in the image – antithetical to the merged layers of a Photoshop file that has been converted and flattened into a JPEG.
I have recently been researching TSA checkpoints and airplane safety pamphlets, taking note how borders, imagery, text and symbol attempt/succeed at imposing rules on human action and determine how bodies navigate certain spaces. I use floor tiles, security ropes, arrows and red x’s from the imagery and objects inside airports and on planes. By overlaying these graphics on top of each other I am inventing maps, territories and geographies filled with contradiction, error and misdirection. Removing the symbols from their original context/use for “safety” and “security”, the paintings become nefariously confusing and have an embedded paranoia in the failed pictorial structures.
Artcritical Article by Andrew Wagner –