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Art Museum to host ‘Mapping Exhibition Suite’

February 27, 2013
Ben Rosecrans’ “Accipround.1,” 2012 (detail)

Ben Rosecrans’ “Accipround.1,” 2012 (detail)

As a part of the NIU Art Museum’s upcoming Mapping Exhibition Suite, “OBJECTIVE / SUBJECTIVE: Mapping as Visual Language” features contemporary artists utilizing the visual and conceptual language of mapping to respond to real or imagined spaces.

Museum staff Peter Olson and Heather Green will curate this exhibition in the North and Rotunda galleries of the NIU Art Museum from Tuesday, March 19, through Friday, May 24.

A public reception will be held from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 4.

This exhibition focuses on national and international artists using the objective visual language of maps for subjective and personal inspiration. The range in which these artists appropriate maps spans a variety of eclectic media and conceptual interpretations.

Their contemporary works range from sincere to satirical subject matter and from cosmic to intimate scale.

For example, young Japanese artist Ken’ichiro Taniguchi traces cracks in city sidewalks to create intricate maps of these urban anomalies.

He uses the tracings as templates for fabricating meandering, lace-like sculptures out of bright yellow plastic. After he produces these sculptures, he returns to the original street locations to fit the delicate constructions back inside the crevices for photographic archiving.

Ken’ichiro Taniguchi’s “Brunnenstr.10, Entrance, Berlin #1 (street view),” 2012

Ken’ichiro Taniguchi’s “Brunnenstr.10, Entrance, Berlin #1 (street view),” 2012

Taniguchi’s elegantly mindful work not only entices us to find beauty in the overlooked details of our surroundings, but also challenges our perception of scale as cracks in the pavement take on the appearance of river systems seen from above or magnified biological details viewed through a microscope.

In terms of imagined spaces, NIU alum Ben Rosecrans appropriates the utilitarian aesthetics of cartography to create his planar/organic hybrids. Rosecrans’ layers of diagrammatic line, translucent shapes and painterly swatches offer a 21st century spin on the artistry of map-making.

While Rosecrans’ pieces are not maps in the traditional sense, he appropriates the language of mapping to create his own worlds. The resulting work is refreshingly crisp – a testament to economy of line and shape.

A complete list of exhibiting artists includes: Erin Coleman-Cruz, Nancy Engstad, Adam Benjamin Fung, Ilana Halperin, Donna Katz, Ray Klimek, Dan Miller, Dan Mills, Ben Rosecrans, Ken’ichiro Taniguchi and William Walmsley.

Located on the west-end first floor of Altgeld Hall, the galleries are open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and by appointment for group tours.

Exhibitions and lectures are free; donations are appreciated.

Pay parking is available in the visitor’s lot on Carroll Avenue and at metered spots in front of Altgeld Hall. Free parking is available Saturdays and during receptions and visiting artist lectures in the lot northeast of Gilbert and College Drives.

The exhibition is sponsored in part by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; the Friends of the NIU Art Museum; and the Dean’s Circle of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, NIU Foundation.

Call (815) 753-1936 for more information.