Monday, September 29, 2008
Visit any sailor’s nest, and tacked to the wall you will find maps: old maps, scrolled at the corners and faded from the oils of fingertips brushed lovingly across the favored lines a thousand times over, maps that with tack scars and meandering ink trails tell a story of wanderlust, high seas addiction, and unrelenting dreams. Most artists, like sailors, appreciate the power of “undiscovery” to fuel those risky ventures that make life interesting. Dana Robson, on the other hand, her enchanting cartographic art blooming with hand-stitched flora and fauna, lets the seas discover us. With subtle depth and a sparing use of color, her living oceans encroach upon their well-plotted coastlines and text blocks wildly, silently, as if to remind us that mankind will probably skip across the surface of Neptune long before we will ever understand the power and wonder of our own oceans. Whether it is the shore-hugging teal tendrils of The Bright and Ageless Ocean, or any of the other combinations informed by her Bay Area memories, Robson has given us a gallery as understated as a slow tide. Whether we slow down long enough to enjoy it, I suppose, is entirely up to us.