Tuesday, December 19, 2006

a solid sky...




3 maps from a little book called an easy guide to southern stars, published in london in the early 1900's. most of the maps are beautiful deep blue circles filled with tiny white dots making up the constellations. they're pretty familiar feeling, but the maps on the last 3 pages are quite different.

the thing that struck me were the dashed lines that present the constellation clusters as territories with the kind of graphic borders that are usually used to designate land areas. the lines define forms i've never really seen in sky maps before, and they create images that have nothing to do with the openness and visual emptiness of traditional sky. in a sense, they re-present the sky as a solid plane - feeling like a flat landscape of interlocking pieces seen from above.

the forms remind me a lot of jasper johns's smaller fragmented map paintings, or even more so like some of the later works, such as green angel which turns images into map-like presences.

the small book has been in my studio for years, and while i've tried unsuccessfully to use the maps to generate specific works several times over the last 15 years or so, i think they've definitely had an influence on my image building...


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