Post by Emma E. Jensen
MICHIGAN CITY, Ind.– Seeking Location: Mapping & Borders in Art is a 12-artist exhibition at the Lubeznik Center for the Arts showcasing the arbitrariness of borders and boundaries and how they connect with geo-political influences and cultural spheres that extend past geography alone. Curated by Suzanne Cohan-Lange and Jane Cooperman, Seeking Location features artists Tom Brand, Michele Corazzo, Hector Duarte, Gary Duehr, Ruth Esserman, Victoria Fuller, Deidre Lewin, Priscilla Lynch, Dan Mills, Michael x. Ryan, Joel Sheesley, and Mel Watkin. The exhibition will run until June 3, 2017.
Borders of countries often delineate the edges of conflict, and maps, tools for understanding and navigating the planet, help us locate those borders. In Victoria Fuller’s piece Water Supply is a bathymetric map of the Sea of Galilee with a target and a hose with a jewel, symbolizing a drop of water. The piece explores the War over Water, a series of confrontations between Israel and its Arab neighbors from 1964 to 1967 over control of water sources in the Jordan River drainage basin. Lebanon and Syria diverted 35% of Israel’s water supply, however this plan was not feasible as it was costly and technically difficult. In addition to Water Supply, Fuller constructed a large, suspended sculpture of a map of the United States that uses various colors displaying tornado activity titled Tornado Alley. Fuller’s creations merge art, science, and politics, and bring attention to historical events that are not commonly known.
Dan Mills uses maps to create a visualization of data that is constantly changing in his series Wars and Conflicts. His piece Asylum Seekers, Internally Displaced People, Refugees, and Stateless (A.I.R.S.) uses ink on book pages to show fragile populations. Mills’ work creates representation for victims of war who are, unfortunately, the least counted populations in the world.
Mel Watkins’ Mississippi River Charts move the viewer through playful patterns and abstract shapes within the channel of the Mississippi river, creating a poetic depiction of the lives and patterns of movement that must have flowed throughout the ages along its riverbanks. Watkins draws on maps of the Mississippi River to represent the economic importance of the river as well as the environmental problems caused by the use of the river. She displays the beauty and struggles of the Mississippi River that have been in place from the beginning of our country to present day.
Lastly, Desenredando Fronteras /Unraveling Borders by Hector Duarte is a piece that is especially relevant to the changing political climate in America. This painting features monarch butterflies and their shapes morphing out of the barbed wire on the top of a fence. The bright colors and his use of line are bold and command attention. Duarte is from Mexico, and his message is especially powerful in Trump’s America – butterflies can freely cross the border, but Mexican citizens cannot.
Seeking Location: Mapping & Borders in Art displays the intersection of art, politics, and history with the work of twelve insightful artists. Exhibitions like this one in Michigan City, IN are important in the current turbulent political climate in our country and the rest of the world.