Making Markers


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A multimedia response to the Sidney Knafel Map Collection for 
Wayfinding: Contemporary Artists, Critical Dialogues, and the Sidney R. Knafel Map Collection  
October 17, 2020–February 28, 2021 
Addison Gallery of American Art
Andover, Massachusetts

This body of work explores components of maps that measure water, space, and distance through specific marks. I have always loved map keys and the bold graphic  blocks that border the edges of maps in stripe patterns, as both decorative and functional elements. My father was a sailor and lived much of his life on the water, so I grew up around navigation charts. They were as common to me as road maps, but carried a fascination all their own because of the depth and distance measurement systems that manifested as linear geometries, the mysteries and awe that the notion of open water held, and because navigation was a system that connected bodies of water to the stars and sky. .  

For Wayfinding, I created a multi-media body of work reflecting multiple entry points.. There are textile artworks in several forms: stitched, framed wall pieces, a long piece of patterned silk fabric yardage shown as sculpture, a paper-mache and textile sculpture; and works on paper. The range of artworks are inspired by the language and concepts of navigation, distance markers, and map keys. I shot some photos of the shadows of the railings on the steps of the Addison Gallery that seem related visually to the graphic map keys. These images became a reference for a stitched textile work that grounds the project in the space by referencing the actual site. I also adapted a graphic drawing lifted from distance markers on a nineteenth century map of Cape Cod and used this to create a painted mural on a wall in an interior entrance to the museum.