on the cartographic sublime

                                               

data plot: ants/melon, ballpoint pen on Dura-lar

data plot: ants/melon, detail

cherub, ballpoint pen and ink on Dura-Lar

cherub, detail

colony I, ballpoint pen on duralar

colony I, detail

everything in the universe I, ballpoint pen and ink on Dura-lar

everything in the universe I, detail

everything in the universe II, ballpoint pen and ink on Dura-lar

everything in the universe II, detail

ice flow II, gel pen & ink on Dura-Lar

itinerary for the common housefly, ballpoint pen on Dura-Lar

itinerary for the common housefly, detail

itinerary for two mosquitoes, ballpoint pen on Dura-Lar

itinerary for two mosquitoes, detail

topography for immanuel kant I, ballpoint pen & ink on Dura-Lar

topography for immanuel kant I, detail

topography for immanuel kant II, ballpoint pen & ink on Dura-Lar

topography for immanuel kant II,, detail

meditations, ballpoint pen and graphite on Bristol board

meditations, detail

after caspar david friedrich's "die gescheiterte hoffnung" (the wreck of hope), ballpoint pen on Dura-Lar

experimental forms for X,Y,Z axis, gel pen on bristol board

experimental forms for X,Y,Z axis, gel pen on bristol board

experimental forms for X,Y,Z axis, detail


This recent suite of drawings emerges from a collaborative inquiry I am conducting with advanced students in Special Topics; Mappings (ARTZ 595) within the School of Art at the University of Montana. This student-generated curriculum aims to explore the aesthetic and function of maps, charts, graphs, and diagrams. While my initial interest in cartography has been purely aesthetic, the unfolding discourse with my students has revealed maps as Western tools of colonization and control of the land, the mind, people, and ethnicity. Within this dialogue, I have gathered cadastral data, statistical data, and images. This source material is then manipulated with a variety of open-source applications and data processing to immerge as vector graphic data, which is plotted on a vinyl cutter. Recently, I have been considering the resulting images within the aesthetic theory of the sublime.

Immanuel Kant's theory of the sublime suggests that feelings of the sublime occur before and after beauty yet not within beauty itself, and before and after fear, but not within fear itself. Additionally, an experience of scale (vast or miniscule), form (formlessness), and math (the infinite) inform our experience of the sublime. Our struggle to reason with all of these elements is central to notions of the sublime.

Of course, as all artistic practices involve degrees of illusion and abstraction, I have been curious about the degree to which layering these delicate lines formed by a single ballpoint pen ultimately reveal the depths of landscape, architectural space, and figuration.