Rainy Day States is a series of observational drawings begun during preparations for the Union Block mural. Like the mural itself, they were drawn by eye, working across from a 1986 road map and a 2006 road atlas of the U.S.A., both by Rand McNally.
The reduction of a map to its bare minimum – the outline, and only the outline – raises a question as to whether or not, and at what point, a map might cease to be a map and become instead a likeness, an icon, or a complete abstraction. The Union Block image arguably retains its mapness by the inclusion of a single asterisk, which transforms it from a static likeness to a wayfinding index. So, the first question was whether or not these images would retain any cartographic meaning or referentiality at all.
I began the exercise at its logical conclusion, which is to say, with Colorado and Wyoming – the minimalist states. These are the only two states whose borders are composed entirely of geometrical abstractions, without reference to natural features. The two seemingly identical rectangles lay at different latitudes, and on a curved surface, and so are in fact neither identical nor truly rectangular. The second question, then, was whether or not the two shapes would be recognizable at a glance, or distinguishable one from the other.
I then proceeded down the list of next-most-rectilinear states, skipping over the portrait-format states (Utah, New Mexico, etc.) and stopping at Oregon, where the approximated rectangle starts to slide sloppily off the bottom of the Minimalist-Constructivist matrix.
As a rule, I worked only on rainy days.
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