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Meet the Artists: Alastair Noble and Marie-Christine Katz

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Six Hundred Sixty One, handcut roadmaps, by Peter J. HoffmeisterSix Hundred Sixty One, handcut roadmaps, by Peter J. HoffmeisterOn view at Mulberry Street Library through August 27th is the multi-artist collaboration called MAPnificent. MAPnificent features paintings, works on paper and sculpture that reflect the artists' concerns for the current state of our society, conveyed though charts and diagrams, and their admiration of the map as a symbol of longing and the unknown. 

Two of the artists featured in this exhibit, Alastair Noble and Marie-Christine Katz, talked about their artistic practice and their methods of mapping at a presentation in the library on Monday, July 23rd. Noble and Katz take different approaches in the creation of unique mapping projects, but at the same time they share the feeling of being connected to and highly aware of their surroundings. This is what draws them to record their movement. Their sense of place within the larger world is important to them.

Sergio Coyote's "Map of British Isles" with Marie-Christine Katz's "Knitting, I Need You"Sergio Coyote's "Map of British Isles" with Marie-Christine Katz's "Knitting, I Need You"

Alastair Noble has been a New Yorker for over 30 years. He has worked as a printmaker, sculptor and installation artist. His interest in creating alternative mapping techniques has given him the chance to travel the world.

Noble's on-going series, Mapping Arcadia, is based on Jorge Luis Borges' On Exactitude in Science. The first installation of this project was created in 2007, during a residency program in New Mexico at THE LAND/an art site. In 2009, Mapping Arcadia was installed on Isle Martin, Scotland. This project involved planting rowan trees that trace the outline of a topographical map of Isle Martin.

The Mapping Arcadia project recently traveled to Cazenovia College. Cazenovia Lake and the Topography of Place was installed in the sculpture court on Cazenovia's campus with the help of the some of the art students at the College. This work is constructed using bamboo shoots, the lengths of which represent the depths at various points of Cazenovia Lake. Noble uses a topographical map to trace the lakebed levels.

Marie Christine Katz is a Swiss artist who is also a long-time New York City resident. She is an installation, performance and video artist who is interested in exploring ideas of habit, repetition, disintegration and unraveling through her artwork.

Mapping Memory is a project that records her walks around New York City. The resulting drawings and sculptures were created with hair, wire and glass, along with the use of pencil and pen.

Paul Fabozzi's "Astoria #3"Paul Fabozzi's "Astoria #3"

Katz is also interested in involving the audience in performance with her. During the three days that her project, Gathering Dispersal was exhibited on Governors Island, viewers could interact with this installation. Katz asked participants to write their place of origin on a grommet, attach it to a spool of yarn, and then attach the yarn to a large stone. The participants would then walk away from the site leaving a trail of yarn as they went. Using a common starting point and then traveling to dissimilar points, participants were able to get a better sense of their relationship to one another and the larger world around them.

Katz concluded her presentation with a performance. The performance involved audience participation, interaction with the performer and interaction among the members of the audience.

Alastair Noble and Marie Christine Katz's artwork reminds me that as I rush from place to place I need to step back and take in my surroundings more often. Discoveries await!

What is your sense of place within this big city?

MAPnificent Book Display, by Rebecca RubensteinMAPnificent Book Display, by Rebecca Rubenstein

Make sure to check out our Reading List in conjunction with the exhibit.

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