Notes on the State of Virginia

A series of twenty-six assemblages:
Fourteen 27″ x 21″ on topographical maps [represented by the first nine pieces in this gallery] and
Twelve 12″ square on stacked mirror, maps, or paper [last six]

Bridge

Bridge | 2012 | 27" x 19" | Mixed Media: USGS topographic map, swallow genome printout, paint on Mylar

Jefferson’s Secret

Jefferson’s Secret | 2011 | 27" x 19" | Mixed media: USGS topographic map, acrylic on Jefferson silhouette based on Raphaelle Peale’s original, Jefferson’s original handwritten Notes on the State of Virginia printed on clear Mylar, fern, acrylic painting on mylar,* map tack, Google Earth image of Monticello (leaf)]

The Green Fuse

The Green Fuse | 2013 | 27" x 21" | Mixed Media: USGS topographic map, shoe, carbon paper, feathers, nails, grasses, paint on Mylar, sketches printed on Mylar, book pages

Coal Tattoo

Coal Tattoo | 2012 | 27" x 21" | Mixed Media: USGS topographic map, coal dust, sketches printed on Mylar, plants, acrylic paint, modeling paste

Sacrament

Sacrament | 2012 | 27" x 19" | Mixed Media: USGS topographic map, ferns, leaf, acrylic on paper and Mylar

Wunderkammer

Wunderkammer | 2012 | 27" x 19" | Mixed Media: USGS topographic map, plant stains and acrylic paint on paper, sketches printed on clear Mylar

Flyway

Flyway | 2013 | 27" x 21" | Mixed Media: USGS topographic map, salt marsh grasses, acrylic on Mylar

Daily Observations

Daily Observations | 2012 | 27" x 21" | Mixed Media: USGS topographic map, sketchbook pages printed on Mylar, acrylic on magnolia leaves, map tack

Lost and Found

Lost and Found | 2011 | 27" x 21" | Mixed Media: topographic map, tree leaves, insect sketches printed on Mylar, gauze, rust/walnut/lunar black watercolor on Mylar, map tack

Looking Backwards

Looking Backwards | 2012 | 27" x 21" | Mixed Media: (topographic map, clay from Poplar Forest [Jefferson’s retreat, and where he worked on Notes on the State of Virginia],modeling paste, acrylic on Mylar [eyes painted from Rembrandt Peale’s portrait of Jefferson], plants, measuring tape

How the Past Returns

How the Past Returns | 2013 | 27" x 21" | Mixed Media: topographic map, acrylic, drawings and text printed on Mylar [from the booklet “Climate Change and the Chesapeake Bay”]

Back to the Garden

Back to the Garden | 2013 | 27" x 21" | Mixed Media: USGS topographic map, pencil, pressed plants, paint and plant stains on paper, bark

Back to the Garden

Back to the Garden | 2014 | 12" x 12" x 2.5" | SIDE VIEW

Urban Nest

Urban Nest | 2012 | 12" x 12" x 2.5" | Mixed Media: found maps and other printed materials, grasses, map, acrylic, altered mirror

Waterway

Waterway | 2011 | 12" x 12" x 2.5" | Mixed Media: USGS topographic map, sketches painted on Mylar, acrylic paint, altered mirror

Maroon

Maroon | 2012 | 12" x 12" x 2.5" | Mixed Media: plant stains, blood, map, text printed on Mylar [George Washington’s Dismal Swamp diary and Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Dred front page], map, acrylic on Arches watercolor paper, altered mirror

Collection

Collection | 2013 | 12" x 12" x 2.5" | Mixed Media: acrylic on paper, USGS topographic map, insect pins, altered mirror, text

Life Cycle: Luna Moth

Life Cycle: Luna Moth | 2013 | 12" x 12" x 2.5" | Mixed Media: topographic map, moth cocoon, acrylic on paper and Mylar, old mirror

Gaining Ground

Gaining Ground | 2013 | 12" x 12" x 2.5" | Mixed Media: acrylic on paper, topographic map, gauze, plant stains on paper

OverLook

OverLook | 2012 | 12" x 12" x 2.5" | Mixed Media: topographic map, plant stains on paper, leaves, sticks, gauze, map tack

Pilgrim

Pilgrim | 2012 | 12" x 12" x 2.5" | Mixed Media: insects, plant stains on paper, sketches and map printed on Mylar, altered mirror

Road Trip

Road Trip | 2013 | 12" x 12" x 2.5" | Mixed Media: road maps, ink on Mylar, altered mirror

World Enough

World Enough | 2013 | 12" x 12" x 2.5" | Mixed Media: acrylic on handmade book, Riker specimen mount, leaves, altered mirror, map

Dialogue on the Tides

Dialogue on the Tides | 2013 | 12" x 12" x 2.5" | Mixed Media: acrylic on paper and Mylar, altered mirror

“Notes on the State of Virginia” is a series of place-based assemblages on US Geological Survey topographical maps (2011-2013). It’s a contemporary twist on Thomas Jefferson’s book of that title. Some pieces explore land he described, but most focus on places in the state I find ecologically or culturally distinctive. To create this series, I researched and traveled to areas in Virginia’s Coastal Plain, Piedmont, Blue Ridge, Valley and Ridge, and Appalachian Plateau regions.

This 8-minute video describes the project and the making of the artwork for this series:

 

From Donna Cedar-Southworth’s élan magazine article, “Interpretation”:

“When fine artist Suzanne Stryk learned she had received a grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts to create her own artistic interpretation of Thomas Jefferson’s 1785 book Notes on the State of Virginia, she was both excited and daunted: “What have I gotten myself into?” she wondered. “Virginia is so biologically and culturally rich. And how audacious to use Jefferson’s book for my series!”

But then she remembered Jefferson’s own words when he was asked to revise his book decades after writing the original. “The work itself is nothing more than the measure of a shadow, never stationary, but lengthening as the sun advances, and to be taken anew from hour to hour,” he wrote. “It must remain, therefore, for some other hand to sketch its appearance at another epoch.” Suzanne considered his use of the word “sketch” as a prophecy, she says, and with that, she dove in . . .  ”

See full élan article and a Washington Post review of “Notes on the State of Virginia” here: http://www.suzannestryk.com/publications/reviews/

Notes on the State of Virginia artist’s statement: notes-va-artists-statement

Installation views of Notes on the State of Virginia exhibit:

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Gallery

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Specimen table and Virginia map