Arcadia University Art Gallery: ‘Mapping Nowhere: a Conversation with the Hand Drawn Map Association,’ Nov. 17
GLENSIDE, Pa., Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010─The Arcadia University Art Gallery presents “Mapping Nowhere: A Conversation with the Hand Drawn Map Association” on Wednesday, Nov. 17, at 6:30 p.m. in the Gallery in the Spruance Fine Arts Center. The conversation will be followed by a reception. Both events are free and open to the public.
Planned in conjunction with the exhibition Nowhere: Selections from the Files of the Hand Drawn Map Association, on view through Dec. 19, this public discussion features regional contributors to the show—exhibition curator and HDMA-founder Kris Harzinski, along with Ryan Anderson, Becky Blosser, Keith Garcia, Will Haughery, Andrew Herman, Jennifer McTague, Janell Olah, Krista Shaffer and Perry Steindel. Harzinski and the nine artists will talk about the examples on view and the singular power of the hand-drawn map to convey narrative.
“Both Andrew Herman and Perry Steindel, represented by two works apiece, have a regional reputation for their precisely rendered drawings that suggest printed maps of real places. Playing with our readiness to believe the cartographic mark, they create their fictional maps using standard office supplies,” says Richard Torchia, Director of the Arcadia University Art Gallery. “Employing a completely different graphic language, Becky Blosser layers drawings of architectural details on mylar to record the universal passage from cash register to urban apartment. Ryan Anderson, Will Haughery, Janell Ollah, Jennifer McTague and Krista Shaffer are all represented with maps they drew of Philadelphia sites, including a chart recording a walk inside Eastern State Penitentiary and a diagram addressing the contested borders of Fishtown. Keith Garcia is represented with a skate map of Dallas, Pa., that he drew when he was a child that uses color to point out downhill inclines.”
Curated by HDMA-founder Kris Harzinski, Nowhere displays more than 60 drawings to demonstrate the unique capacity of the hand-drawn map to create sites—both graphic and virtual—where writing and depiction, documentation and fiction coincide to articulate locations otherwise beyond reach. The exhibition coincides with the release of From Here to There: A Curious Collection from the Hand Drawn Map Association, a 224-page book published this fall by Princeton Architectural Press. All but a handful of these drawings are presented on a long table, encouraging visitors to assume a bird’s-eye view of each map. In its suggestion of a near-continuous line bisecting the Gallery, this table also becomes a border separating the space into a “here” and a “there.”
“The works in the show distinguish themselves from conventional printed and (now) ubiquitous digital maps in telling ways. Sidestepping the objective and presumed authority of printed and digital examples, most of these maps are motivated by subjective, personal, and pragmatically contingent intentions, often as part of a conversation,” says Torchia. “While a small percentage of the drawings adopt the language of cartography for aesthetic purposes, most were made in response to specific needs and agendas. As drawings, each bear an autographic trace to become an expressive signature of its author with a unique, physical presence of its own. Each map thus becomes a singular site in and of itself, regardless of its references.”
Harzinski writes: “The exhibition begins with works focusing on some basic cartographic conventions. Points are used to plot specific locations, as in Marilyn Murphy's notecard charting injection sites for her arthritis treatment. Lines, on the other hand, begin to reference a journey from one point to another as in John Hutchison's drawing of his commute from Grand Central Station to his office. The layers of information gradually increase as points become symbols, lines become roads, and roads begin to intersect.”
“Eventually, line gives way to the grid and its myriad permutations, including maps of fictional or utopian places (as well as sites in video games), maps about maps, and projects such as Gary Setzer’s chalk-line drawing from his house to his studio. Presented as a video, this performative drawing negates the role of the typical map by resting directly on top of the territory it represents,” says Torchia.
The Hand Drawn Map Association (HDMA) was founded as an archive devoted to collecting hand-drawn maps. The original focus of the association was to collect directional maps that people draw for one another as the immediate need arises, quick diagram-like sketches that can reveal a particular vision of a place but are often discarded after use. The HDMA rescues these pieces of ephemera, archives them, and presents them to the public via workshops, exhibitions, and the handmaps.org website. Since it began in 2008, the collection has grown to incorporate a vast array of creative interpretations of site and passage by artists (trained and untrained alike), illustrators, and cartographers (amateur and professional).
Gallery Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and weekends noon to 4 p.m., as well as by appointment.
For more information, contact Arcadia University Art Gallery at 215-572-2133 (or 215-572-2131) or visit www.arcadia.edu/gallery.
About Arcadia University: Arcadia University is a top-ranked private university in metropolitan Philadelphia and a national leader in study abroad and international education. The 2009 Open Doors report ranks Arcadia University 1st in the nation among master’s universities in the percentage of undergraduate students studying abroad. U.S. News & World Report ranks Arcadia University among the top master’s universities in the North, as one of the top study abroad programs in the nation, and a “top up-and-coming school.” The Physical Therapy program is ranked 7th in the nation. Arcadia University promises a distinctively global, integrative and personal learning experience that prepares students to contribute and prosper in a diverse and dynamic world.