Artist uses geography to make human connection

When Philadelphia-based artist Scott J. Wittman developed a love for maps, they became more than just information. It is a language of thought that hovers over the earth, showing that mapping is more about people and possibilities than place and province. His meticulously redesigned digital maps of historic places around the world can be viewed at the Dvora Gallery from Saturday, November 6, with an opening from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

In his Collage Portraits series, Wittman recreates massive images of former rulers and deities, enveloping map space to form the lines and planes of their faces. If you stand close enough to the 15th-century Hungarian ruler, King Corvinus and Queen Bea, you can read maps of the territories they ruled.

In his series Gods and Goddesss, Neptune, Juno, Venus, and Mars use a basic New York city-planning map that includes Jersey City and mimics the feel of marble, which promotes notions of power, politics, and economics of the progress. Roman deities reflect these themes.

Wittman also has his small Silhouette series, which includes maps the artist collected on his travels in Europe and now features places of Gothic nostalgia and romance.

“We have all had times of balance and imbalance in our lives; these “moments of one-frame theater” refer to moments of indecision or conviction, ”says Wittman.

Wittman has exhibited at the Whitney Biennial, Art | Basel and in numerous galleries in Europe. His art shines a light on our changing abilities and desires, with geographic space used as a metaphor.

The Dvora Pop-Up Gallery is located at 160 1st St., Jersey City. The show runs until January 12. Proof of vaccination and masks are required for entry. The opening hours of the gallery are from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday and from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.

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