Maps and Mapping

Issue 33 May 2017


Stephen Walter’s drawings are a tangle of signs, words and images that draw the viewer into the artist’s intricate worlds. His work is crowded with today’s (sub)cultural symbols and obsessive tendencies; but it also celebrates traditional techniques, craftsmanship and Romantic notions of place.

Tactile Maps

Driven by her desire to “know the world,” Ingrid Calame has been tracing the marks on its surface, turning them into intricate paintings, drawings, prints, and murals, for nearly 20 years. As she explains: “the idea was that the whole surface of the world is a potential drawing. I can’t trace the whole world, so I’m tracing a fragment. I’m interested in how impossible it is for us to represent something as huge as the world.”

Off the Map and Beyond

In his book, ‘Off the Map: : Lost Spaces, Invisible Cities, Forgotten Islands, Feral Places and What They Tell Us About the World’, Professor of Social Geography, Alastair Bonnett, presents a stunning testament to how mysterious our planet still is. From forgotten enclaves to floating islands, from hidden villages to New York gutter spaces, ‘Off the Map’ charts the hidden corners of our planet. His forthcoming books ‘Beyond the Map: : Unruly enclaves, ghostly places, emerging lands and our search for new utopias’ and ‘New Views: The World Mapped Like Never Before’ reveal how geography is getting stranger.

In this exclusive interview he discusses these books and his ‘love of place’


Chris Kenny’s three-dimensional collage-constructions have been described as ‘witty, severe, paradoxical things, appearing at once rational and also deeply surreal’. In his ‘Mapworks’, he uses the colours of his materials in an almost painterly way, and says that he replaces “the cartographer’s logic with an absurd imaginative system. The roads float and interact in unlikely combinations that allow one’s mind to ricochet back and forth between disparate locations and associations.”

Current Wars and Conflicts

Cartography, methods of visualizing information, history, current events, satire and humor are some of the subjects that captivate Dan Mills. He began to incorporate maps into his work in the early 1990s while exploring the quincentennial of what is euphemistically referred to as The First Encounter. Since then, he has made series about history and colonization in painting/collages on large roll-down school maps that explore imperialism by creating an atlas reconfiguring the world, about loss in history through erasure and overpainting maps, and that use maps as a space to visualize data about wars and conflicts.

Where the Dragons Lie

Shannon Rankin is an artist who uses the language of maps to explore the complexities and interconnections between the inner and outer worlds, between that which is known and that which remains beyond the field of knowledge, that mythical place on medieval maps where the dragons lie and cherubs blow the wind. The duality of our human capacity for imagination and reason, for creation and destruction, for being of nature and apart from it, is a rhumb line that courses through her work.

The Thames (from London Bridge, Arizona to Sheerness, Canada)

Layla Curtis is an artist whose practice has a focus on place, landscape and mapping. Her multi-form work examines the attempts we make to chart the earth, how we locate ourselves, navigate space and represent terrain. She explores the ways in which we perceive, make use of and interact with the spaces we inhabit. Often she seeks to understand place by examining its connections with elsewhere.