Seek and Find: creative cartography exhibition at Noble Library

Published Nov. 16, 2022

In its ninth year, Noble Library will host the creative cartography exhibition, a collaboration between the ASU School of Art and the ASU Library. The 2022 exhibit, “Seek and Find” is on display at Noble Library on the Tempe campus, from Nov. 16 until Nov. 29 during regular library hours. Visitors can plan their visit at lib.asu.edu/noble.

Maps and three-dimensional objects illustrated with drawings and paintings

As part of sustainable art practice and exploration of related disciplines, students in Professor Ellen Meissinger’s course “Art on Paper” brought new meaning to vintage topographical and geological maps withdrawn from the library collection. Meissinger said, “This year’s exhibit gives the class an opportunity to think about maps as vehicles for exploring a visual journey and finding connections between a two-dimensional and a three-dimensional artwork that tells a story.”

The collaboration began in 2013 after the ASU Library Map and Geospatial Hub decided to withdraw surplus copies of topographic maps. Offered to the ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, School of Art, Meissinger worked with her classes to use these maps in fresh and unexpected ways.

Each artist created a two-dimensional and a three-dimensional original work of art that is both inspirational and exciting. “The variety of ideas and working processes for the three-dimensional pieces was most surprising to myself and the students,” said Meissinger. “Most students told me that they only had experience creating two-dimensional works of art. Creating a three-dimensional artwork, particularly one that incorporated maps, was a totally new and exciting experience.”

Reimagining cartography through art

Karina Wilhelm, Manager for the Design and the Arts Library said, “I love finding the intersection of art and science and seeing how the students understand that joining of disciplines. Cartography is a very visual way of interpreting the world we live in. Art often works with the same goal so art and maps just are a natural fit. Every artist and exhibition has presented unique interpretations and I’m always excited to see what is produced each year.”

Wilhelm leads the project for the ASU Library and enjoys seeing the new artwork. “Each fall we take the Art on Paper students to the Map and Geospatial Hub and I showcase selections of maps from the collection. I love when I can see the influence that those maps have on the students as they make their artwork. Sometimes you can see a distinct correlation between those examples and the artwork created,” said Wilhelm.

For Wilhelm, this project is personal and supports students with opportunities to exhibit their work. “I have a degree in art history but ended up working with maps for twelve years,” said Wilhelm. “This collaboration started as a way to bring some of my love for art into that position. The fact that the collaboration has continued for nine years is very gratifying. I feel like it’s so important to give students as many opportunities and experiences as possible while they’re at ASU.”

To learn more about the exhibit, please visit: libguides.asu.edu/creativecartography.