Montgomery to exhibit artwork in "The Map is Not the Territory”
Alan Montgomery, Dakota State University professor of art, will have two drawings in the upcoming Baksun Books & Arts and The Jerusalem Fund Gallery works on paper, traveling exhibition called “The Map is Not the Territory.” The exhibition, featuring Native American, Irish, and Palestinian artists, is scheduled to open on September 6, 2013, at The Jerusalem Fund Gallery in Washington, D.C.
The map–territory relation describes the relationship between an object and a representation of that object, as in the relation between a geographical territory and a map of it. Polish-American scientist and philosopher Alfred Korzybski remarked that "the map is not the territory", encapsulating his view that an abstraction derived from something, or a reaction to it, is not the thing itself. Korzybski held that many people do confuse maps with territories, that is, confuse models of reality with reality itself.
Montgomery talks about his artwork in the traveling exhibition. “When I first heard about "The Map is not the Territory" as a concept for an exhibition, which included ideas surrounding linkages to the Irish, Palestinians, and Native American cultures, and their connected histories and situations, I immediately responded to the call for entries.
“My two drawings revolve around shared histories that transcend language and cultural readings. The topographical boundaries of a map are imposed by the dominant culture. I began making paintings and drawings in the early 1990’s in response to conflicts in the Middle East and in Eastern Europe (Serbia-Croatia), and Northern Ireland. In Northern Ireland for example, a border was created to separate the majority of the protestant north from the Irish catholic republic. “Peace” lines/walls were erected in Belfast to separate catholic and protestant neighborhoods a block apart. The reality on the ground is always absent via the symbolic representation of that ground.
“My work is motivated by intersections of political and lived space and lived experience. The history of these three cultures is shaped by the land and its imposed boundaries. The borders of territory via walls, fences, and political structures have created extreme situations where violence, oppression and sectarian conflict maintain a kind of status quo. What unites each of the three cultures is a desire to reclaim both the physical and the psychological space...to redefine their identities and to move forward in the world. The power of each struggle and each shared experience is pivotal in the collective consciousness of each culture and its situation in the present. The map is not the territory.”
Baksun Books & Arts was founded by Jennifer Heath in 1992 as a small press and independent curatorial project, dedicated to de-commodifying the word and to creating visual arts exhibitions that address issues of social and environmental justice.
The Jerusalem Fund Gallery, curated and directed by Dagmar Painter, is the cultural program of The Jerusalem Fund for Education and Community Development, located in Washington, D.C. The Gallery showcases the rich culture, art and national heritage of the Palestinian people, with an additional emphasis on the work of contemporary artists whose art centers on issues of the Arab and Islamic worlds. The Gallery hosts bi-monthly exhibits of fine art and photography, a summer film screening series, evening musical performances, and an annual souk and olive harvest celebration.
For more information about the “Map is not the Territory” exhibit, go to http://islamicartsmagazine.com/magazine/view/the_map_is_not_the_territory/.