Virginia Carstarphen

  • VIRGINIA CARSTARPHEN
  • WANDERINGS, MAPS AND MEMORIES
  • Exhibition dates: May 28 – June 19, 2021
  • The video below is the online opening reception of the exhibit.  It took place on Zoom on May 29, 2021

Click on play above to see the video of the online opening reception on Zoom

While in college I discovered the writings of American geographer John Wright who coined the term “geopiety:” geo from the Greek for earth and piety from the Latin pietas meaning sense of duty of filial love. This word so perfectly expresses my love and sense of devotion to the places that have filled my life. The landscapes of Georgia, New England, Florida, and the Midwest; the waters of the Great Lakes, Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico all figure prominently in my work.

Although my work edges mostly on abstraction, I have always thought of myself as a landscape artist.  Artists like Eva Hesse, Anselm Keifer, and Cy Twombly inspire me. Cartography and asemic writing are devices I rely on to explore my subject matter. Through line, color, material and gesture I attempt to honor the landscapes that I am deeply attached to. These landscape explorations are filtered through both experience and memory. Imagination plays an important role as well.

At times these abstracted landscapes can be internal mappings of the human body on a cellular level – a way of finding myself in the world.  Other times they verge on more macrocosmic abstractions – a landscape as big as a galaxy.  Often they navigate the space in between. It is within that space that I find balance between destruction and renewal, entanglement and order.

In this body of work, maps themselves become the vehicle to explore these ideas.  Where am I? Where do I come from?  Where am I going?  These questions are at the heart of the manipulations of the maps.  They become transformed by my wanderings, both literally and symbolically.

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