Manda Remmen

Artist Statement

 

These maps reveal the value of land and the understanding of ownership. The embroidery stitches create a stronger cloth and the layered paper a stronger leaf. Place is made by people. Without people and their navigation through place, it would be space – empty, barren, and without record. These art objects are the documentation of where space and people interact. They are not maps that negate place.

 

Everything in these pieces is specific: the texture of a location, the materials used to record the texture, the GPS coordinates, the collected particles of the site, the processes used.  In each work and series, the individual elements work together to create an opposing balance. The recycled US currency, already unusable, is made more un-usable and then reconstituted to become something else. Broken down money and dirt create something that references wealth and is both valuable and devalued in the same instance. By using pulp made from reclaimed currency to cast symbolic objects, the negative space that surrounds a thing becomes an object creating a physical representation of space, showing something by its absence. The traditional aerial maps highlight the different layers of information left on the land through history using iconography and contemporary satellite imagery.

 

Created with a different material and process, the Perspective Maps, look like a combination of Monet and Bierstadt. Embroidery, a stereotypically female process, renders a description of the land, something that is typically thought of as a patriarchal inheritance. Inspired by the presentation of grandiose, sublime paintings of the Rocky Mountain School, these small, snapshot size artworks are framed like large-scale paintings. The contrast in scale and material highlights the similarity in subject and shows the control that colonialism and patriarchy desire of both women and the land. The scenes are pastoral and beautiful each with a visible mark of mankind recording the alteration and piecing of the landscape showing something so beautiful as both natural and unnatural at once.

 

The Stolen Ground series highlights the commodification of land and the colonization of America. The names and the effects of colonialism are still evident all around us. For this series, I collected physical dirt without permission, inventoried, cataloged, and displayed the sample dirt in period-specific glass bottles. The viewer looks at the dirt through the specific data that is used to define it and the implied nostalgia placed on the location and object through naming. The sentimental, shiny, and beautiful past is in opposition to the empirical, rough, and plain collection of soil.

 

Maps are used by civilization to educate and bring order to the world. As an index, a map is expected to represent a place, to define and describe it. Through materials and process, these works attempt to change what a map is, highlighting the way the map conditions us and orders our world. These maps speak of an opposing balance through subject and materials.

Manda Remmen

Artist Statement

 

“The intersections of nature, culture, history, and ideology form the ground on which we stand—our land, our place. . .”-Lucy Lippard, The Lure of the Local

 

 Lippard, Lucy R. The Lure of the Local: Senses of Place in a Multicentered Society. New York: New, 1997. Print. 7