DOI: 10.14714/CP78.1282

Map Works

Matthew Cusick |

Course of Empire

"Course of Empire"

My process involves the excavation, intervention, and reconstruction of remnants from the past. I employ printed matter as a surrogate for paint, using maps in particular to facilitate a deliberate symbolic palette and to simulate the gesture of a brushstroke. Their palette is deliberate and symbolic, helping to internalize the external. I sort and catalog my collection of maps according to their formal and contextual properties, creating an archive from which I draw upon to compose my work. Then I precisely cut and inlay fragments of maps and other ephemera into the picture plane, creating a unified surface.

Genevieve's Wave

"Genevieve's Wave"

I began collecting and working with maps as a new medium in 2002. I use maps as raw material to depict the tenuous relationship we have with our environment. As visual aids to our cognitive understanding of spatial complexity, maps also embody a textual, representational, and abstract depiction of our milieu. The pictorial façade of my work is assembled upon this linguistic and conceptual infrastructure, challenging the polarizing notions of representational and abstract art. Rather than seeing cartography as the cognitive representation of our environment, I have repurposed cartography as a substance with which to depict the pictorial illusion of our reality.

Empire Revisited

"Empire Revisited"

Maps are a perfect union of science and art, and their inherent beauty and visual complexity continue to inform my aesthetic choices. The Map Work collages integrate mythology with territory by rendering my subject matter with the authentic relics of its own timeline and history. Each map fragment is a representation of an existence and an index of a specific time and place. The merging of dissimilar map fragments into the matrix of an illusory image allows for the rendering of hybrid geographical timelines and topographies while also generating contemporary meaning from obsolete narratives. The Map Works are essentially conceptual mosaics: pictures composed of dislocated, yet related fragments of maps that have a story waiting to be revealed beneath their precisely crafted surface.

Many Rivers

"Many Rivers"

Chasing the Dragon

"Chasing the Dragon"

Matthew Cusick’s work has been shown in galleries and institutions across the United States and Europe including solo exhibitions at the Columbus Museum of Art, Pavel Zoubok Gallery, Kent Fine Art, and Andrew Kreps Gallery. Matthew has been a visiting artist and lecturer at The Cooper Union, The University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and The Dallas Museum of Art and his work is held in numerous public and private collections around the world, including the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Nasher Sculpture Center, and the Progressive Corporation Art Collection. Since 2007 he has lived in Dallas.

All images courtesy of the artist and Pavel Zoubok Gallery.

Visual Fields focuses on the appreciation of cartographic aesthetics and design, featuring examples of inspirational, beautiful, and intriguing work. Suggestions of works that will help enhance the appreciation and understanding of the cartographic arts are welcomed, and should be directed to the section editor, Laura McCormick: