Curatorial Projects > Here Be Dragons: Mapping Information and Imagination (2011-12)

Val Britton
Burst Apart (detail), 2011
Mixed media

“My immersive, collaged works on paper draw on the language of maps. Much of my work has been influenced by a longing to connect to my father, a long haul cross-country truck driver who passed away when I was a teenager. Based on road maps of the U.S., routes my father often traveled, and an invented conglomeration, fragmentation, and abstraction of those passageways, my works on paper help me piece together the past and make up the parts I cannot know. These mixed media abstractions map not only physical locations but also psychological and emotional spaces.

In the past I have used different methods to bring my drawings into a sculptural space that hovers between two- and three-dimensions: cutting into the ground paper and using collage that curls and extends beyond the paper’s boundaries. By moving these materials more fully into three-dimensional space through this installation, I hope to create a more immersive environment with the addition of movement and shadow. The challenge of creating a site-specific piece that responds to the stairwell space has led me to explode and torque the cut paper elements and then tether them back to the ceiling and walls with delicate networks of thread. The movement of ventilated air and people traveling up and down the stairs subtly animates the delicate paper. Instead of layering collage on a two dimensional plane to achieve the illusion of space and depth, the cut paper pieces hang freely in space, enveloping the viewer and offering a different perspective with each changing viewpoint. Traveling, navigating routes, mapping our experiences, making choices at a crossroads, viewing purpose as a destination: these common metaphors link experiencing life with the notion of a journey.” – Val Britton

Here Be Dragons: Mapping Information and Imagination

October 21, 2011 – January 14, 2012
Intersection for the Arts
San Francisco, CA

Photo credit: Scott Chernis