I was probably trying to use mapping without it being a map of something…
Kathy Prendergast (born 1958) studied at the National College of Art and Design before obtaining an MA in sculpture at the Royal College of Art in London where she now lives and works. She has exhibited in various inter national exhibitions including ROSC 1988 and the Venice Biennale in 1995 where she won the Premio Duemilia (Best Artist under 40). In 1997, the Tate Gallery had an exhibition of her work in progress.
She explores issues of identity, sexuality, landscape, mapping, and power in work that encompasses sculpture, drawing, painting, and installation. Prendergast is concerned with territories and borders as metaphors for control and the contours of the self.
City Drawing series
During hes career she often thinks of the scale theme. She likes to play in small, huge things, on the contrary large subjects, such as cities and oceans, on very small supports. In Ocean Drawing, the ocean is like the spacing between contour lines drawn from nautical charts, and in City Drawing, the city is almost like a living cell or little microcosm.
When she started drawing maps, she depicted places that didn’t exist. Then she started to make maps of places that really do exist and that’s where the City Drawings have come from. They started in 1992. They are maybe the size of a small face so in a way they are like portraits. By making them that size they could be imaginary because it’s difficult recognise every single city, when you see 180 of them in a row. But very few of the cities have a strong geographic feature.
So what is real and unreal is just what touches on your own life or what we get, for instance, through the radio or television.
So they’re maps of real cities that want to inspire the unreal. Get sucked in and at that stage the reality doesn’t exist anymore. Maps as symbol of real and ordinary life, while her maps are pieces of art, so they’re parts of an extraordinary world. Kathy Prendergast thinks her work has to be an element of the extraordinary, only then it becomes more than what it has come from.
Black Map series
Kathy worked no these drawings since 2009. They are road maps effaced with ink. It depicts what appear to be enchanting views of a night sky in which towns and cities become complicated constellations of planets and stars.
At close inspection, roads, place names and geographical details can still be discerned underneath the densely hatched lines of black marker, giving these works a strong sense of having been crafted by hand. Viewed from a distance, each work has the appearance of a star chart – constellations of small villages, large towns and major cities all represented by hundreds of uniform-size single white marks.
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