OBJECTIVE / SUBJECTIVE: Mapping as Visual Language

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OBJECTIVE / SUBJECTIVE: Mapping as Visual Language
Curated by: Heather Green, Peter Olson

595 College Ave.
Altgeld Hall, First floor, West end
60115 DeKalb

March 19th, 2013 - May 24th, 2013
Opening: April 4th, 2013 4:30 PM - 7:00 PM

Other (outside areas listed)
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Thursday Noon - 7 p.m.; Sunday Noon - 4 p.m.
IL, Northern Illinois University DeKalb
photography, mixed-media, digital, video-art, pop, landscape, sculpture
Free and open to the public


As a part of the Northern Illinois University 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. This exhibition will be curated by NIU Art Museum Staff, Peter Olson and Heather Green, and will be held in the North and Rotunda galleries of the NIU Art Museum from March 19th – May 24th 2013; a public reception will be held on April 4th, 2013 from 4:30pm – 7:00pm.

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. 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

The NIU Art Museum is located on the first floor, west end of Altgeld Hall, on the campus of Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL, 60115. Hours are Tuesday through Friday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Saturday from 12:00 – 4:00 p.m. Group tours may be arranged by appointment. More information may be found on our website:

Funded in part by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; Friends of the NIU Art Museum; and the Dean’s Circle of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at NIU.