Get Carta – the art of mapping

(An article written for the June edition of the Hackney Citizen newspaper, published online here)

Eight artists explore community, place, and nature at the Karin Janssen Project Space in Well Street

Well Street’s Karin Janssen Project Space is a pocket of white light on a multicoloured community high street. Next door, polka-dot umbrellas are stacked next to rainbow assortments of bins and tubs. Neighbouring shops boast bright PVC shop signs and stock bric-a-brac galore.

Gallerist Karin Janssen, from Holland, was attracted to this quarter of Hackney and set up her studio-cum-gallery on Well Street last year.

“This gallery is for everybody,” she says. “I leave the doors and windows open so that locals can wander in and look around the space, enjoy the art. Everyone is welcome.”

The first exhibition held in the gallery last April focused on local people and the local area. The next exhibition will follow in similar stead.

Get Carta, curated by artist Stephen Harwood, will bring together eight artists with an interest in maps, landscapes and community.

“Mapping is a tremendously rich starting point,” explains Harwood, “though there is nothing new about mapping. It is often explored through illustration, an exploration of surface.” This exhibition will offer new perspectives on mapping.

Harwood has used Google Street View as a starting point, revisiting his home county and creating drawings in homage.

“Mapping is a way of navigating, of finding one’s way,” explains Harwood, “but it is someone else’s exploration. These artworks are about transforming something that already exists — creating a new work.”

Karen Ay will exhibit lightbox sculptures using images, taken on her iPhone, of cracks in the east London paving stones. Manipulated on Photoshop, these colourful depictions of the cracks we usually dismiss are reminiscent of satellite images of whole countries.

“Mapping is accessible,” says Ay. “I hope that people will come and connect with the work. That’s the aim. It’s about planting seeds — you never know what will come of it.”

Stephen Walter has imagined a map of Liverpool, to him an unknown part of the country, using personal stories from the city’s inhabitants, whilst Claire Brewster has remodeled existing maps to create delicate animal and plant forms.

“We don’t want the space to be empty,” says Janssen. “People should get lost in the gallery, get lost in the maps. They should be drawn in to the art.”

Artists: Karen Ay, Claire Brewster, Vanessa Rolf, Susan Stockwell, Cally Trench, Stephen Walter, Emma J Williams and Stephen Harwood.

Get Carta
7 – 17 June
Karin Janssen Project Space
213 Well Street
E9 6QU

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