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Maps, in their many forms, are a central theme of J. Catherine Bebout’s prints from her Mapping the Body series, to be exhibited at the Curtis R. Harley Gallery at the University of South Carolina Upstate from November 2 – December 3, 2012.

Using a layered incorporation of colonial maps, topographical charts and photographs taken on her travels to China, Australia and New Zealand, together with energy flow charts, tantric charts and acupunctural diagrams, Bebout’s works examine how cartography has been used to both inform and distort our vision of the world. Prominent in her works is the form of a torso, used as a vessel for storytelling, and as a window or portal for travel and exploration into the hidden, mysterious interior landscape worlds located within the body.

Bebout uses multiple processes in her work, ranging from traditional etching to photo based and digital, to create hybrid works that attempt to recapture the essence or spirit of the ‘Maya,’ a Sanskrit term referring to the duality between illusion and dream as envisioned in his mind’s eye.  Her works are mixed media monoprints with etching, litho, silk aquatint and Chine-collé.  The process involves scanned ephemera gathered from years of travel, along with maps, charts, drawings, and photographs.

“Visually interleafing layers of the personal with the appropriated, I create unique impressions intended to move the viewer through space and time, in an effort to present countless associations from the mystical to the esoteric,” said Bebout.  “Over the years, my interest in the archeology of travel has taken me down many paths and like the early cartographers, I discovered this visual language to be an evocative means for conveying my perceptions of the world. Traveling throughout the exotic regions of both India and Asia, I became increasingly interested in Oriental and Ayurvedic traditions where illustrative maps are devotedly used to chart the flow of energy throughout the body. I also became fascinated visually by the tantric charts and acupunctural diagrams used to convey the ‘chi’ energy within the body, as well link our circadian rhythms with the universe.”

Bebout will be on campus on Thursday, November 8 for a free lecture and reception, starting at 4:30 p.m. The gallery is located on the first floor of the Humanities and Performing Arts Center and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. It is free and open to the public. For more information contact Michael Dickins, gallery manager, at (864) 503-5848 (mdickins@uscupstate.edu) or Jane Nodine, gallery director, at (864) 503-5838 (jnodine@uscupstate.edu).

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