I've always loved maps and have long wondered why so few painters mine this rich material. Especially now that we all have easy access to satellite imagery. Well, Jennifer Walton, has beaten me to the punch and frankly I'm grateful. The first piece here is part of a new series.
In previous bodies of work she explored the environment and frequently the human presence within it. Sometimes they are simply depictions of the powerful forces at work in nature: fire, water, ice, etc., (and I can never resist a good fire painting). But mostly her concern was with how our activity within the natural world can enrich us. Only occasionally do we see glimpses of the obverse, of how human activity marks the environment, as in "Graffiti Rock, Petiwawa" (below). But with these satellite imagery paintings, it is hard for her to avoid taking on a less personal and more political stance. We are shown the landscape as an abstract canvas and the most compelling aspect of it is not so much the beauty and breadth of the natural world but rather how rather heavily the human hand has scrawled across it.
Visit her website to see more: www.jenniferwalton.com
And please click on these images to view them larger!
"Copper Cliff Tailings Ponds, Sudbury, View from Google Earth" 72" x 72" oil on canvas 2009
"Graffiti Rock, Petiwawa" 20"x60" oil on canvas 2007
"Swim 4" 12"x18" oil on canvas 1999
"Smoke and fire 1" 12"x12" oil on canvas 1996
"Smoke and fire 3" 12"x12" oil on canvas 1996
"Water 2" 10"x10" oil on canvas 2002
Thanks to Eric Cator at Paintblog for bringing this artist to my attention.