Doug Martin

Charles Cowles Gallery

Of late, there has been much ado about mapping in Manhattan. Curator Robert Storr mounted his ode to the cartographic at the Museum of Modern Art last fall, prompting a counter-exhibition at the SoHo gallery American Fine Arts. Both shows clearly demonstrated that mapping is more than a means of navigating space, indeed in the hands of an artist it often becomes a quasi-conceptual mode of representation.

Offering a somewhat different spin on this now well-trodden territory, Doug Martin often paints directly on the maps he selects, teasing the cartographer’s lines into his own territorial vignettes to produce strange juxtapositions of scale and pictorial information. In Violet Woods, 1993–94, a small stand of pines fills in the miles-wide gap between river and mountains, while in Green Land, the slow bend of a river becomes a crook in a stream meandering through a meadow. Other works forego

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