Everything Counts, Ana Vizcara Rankin at Kitchen Table Gallery
Ana Vizcara Rankin’s Viking Mill Studio, located in the Kensington section of Philadelphia, is filled with her mixed-media maps and new works that will be exhibited in her solo exhibition, “Everything Counts” at Kitchen Table Gallery beginning September 20, 2019. Ana is best known for her large-scale world maps inspired by migration patterns, colonization, and climate change. With Antarctica often oriented at the top and the Arctic Circle positioned at the bottom of the artwork, these maps challenge our notions of reality.
Ana points out, “It’s really very self-centered of us to think that we can perfectly and logically orient the entire solar system. There is no clear up or down in the universe.” We are now confronted with new information, a previously unseen, nonbinary conceptualization of our existing world view.
Elucidation of the unseen seems to link Ana’s early drawings and paintings to her new work. Blockchain Bootstrap, a large-scale, mixed-media, unframed canvas cascading from ceiling to floor in Ana’s studio, is one example that will be exhibited in “Everything Counts” at Kitchen Table Gallery. Blockchain Bootstrap, completed in 2019, measures 196 x 96 inches and was created with metal leaf, tar, acrylic, graphite, and charcoal. Large, map-like areas of grey tones ranging from white to black are linked through extensive layers of mark making. Drips, lines, splatters, paint strokes, carefully applied metal leaf, and blocks of drawing that resemble a binary language or program code become a materialization of the elusive nanoseconds or hashtags that link together successive commands and blocks of data. Such links are activated every time you boot up your laptop or digital device. Through careful observation of digital imagery and engagement with the process of drawing or painting, in Blockchain Bootstrap, Ana strives to better understand the split seconds that successively make up our virtual worlds.
Ana’s attempts to understand complex and split-second phenomena are materializations of occurrences and abstract theories typically hidden from our immediate sight. Her Dispersion Drawings, including Bubble Chamber 2 and Bubble Chamber 7, are small graphite and gesso drawings on reversed drafting film that are comprised of light dots, lines, and spirals on darker backgrounds. These delicate works, rendered in grey tones, map out subatomic activity ignited inside bubble chambers, an obsolete technology used to detect electrically charged particles. The chambers contain liquid heated to a level that allows bubbles to form, and their movements are mapped using a large-format film camera. In keeping with Ana’s interest in deconstructing binary theories, quantum mechanics opposes earlier models that describe subatomic structures solely as particles. The dispersion drawings serve as a map or materialization of the abstract theory.
The dispersion drawings extend to astronomical activity only detectable via high-powered telescopes. Crab Nebula is a 24 x 24 inch gesso and graphite drawing on reversed drafting film mounted on panel. Scattered white marks move forward and backward against a dark background or universe to unveil the ongoing process of a supernova exploding and dispersing into space. Once again, in her quest to better understand the world through the process of making, Ana draws our attention to that which occurs, but escapes our vision.
As our studio visit came to an end, I asked Ana if she has always been drawn to the unseen. Describing herself as a chatty child, she recounted one particularly talkative day at the age of four when her grandfather suggested, “Ana, why don’t you try to draw silence?” Ana stayed with that drawing for a long time, illustrating the silence her grandfather sought. She smiled and let me know, “My grandfather held on to the drawing and I was able to see it as an adult. I guess I’m still trying to draw silence.”
Ana’s mixed-media paintings and drawings will be on exhibit in “Everything Counts” at Kitchen Table Gallery September 20 to October 6th, 2019. You’re invited to the Opening Reception Friday, September 20, 2019, 6:00 to 9:00 pm.
Ana Vizcara Rankin is an Uruguayan American artist based in Philadelphia. She holds an MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and a BA in art history from Temple University. Her work has been exhibited internationally and throughout the United States, including at The Brandywine River Museum of Art and the Embassy of Uruguay in Washington DC. Ana is the recipient of numerous awards including the Judy McGregor Caldwell Purchase Prize, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Essie Baron Memorial Award, Temple University, the Billikopf Award, Temple University, the Gundersheimer Merit Award, Temple University, and 1st Prize Sister Cities International, Stillwater, OK. Her work is held in international public, corporate, and private collections. You can learn more about Ana and her art at avrankin.com.
Thank you to Paula Cahill for the content of this post.
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