Brian Dettmer has been busy. For his second solo show at Aron Packer Gallery, Dettmer has transformed discarded maps, atlases, books, encyclopedia sets, and even cassette tapes into super obsessive and compelling artwork. For the Altered States series, he has taken regional maps and cut the land away leaving only major interstates and highways, which he then layers on top of each other between pieces of glass. The effect is a 3-D road map that is visually stunning from the effect of crisp cuts, layering, and shadow play.
M.I.A., another intricate map work, eliminates any hint of text from a map of the Middle East. With the current events in the region this extraction of content can be read many ways. The extraction manifests an easier, more minimal landscape becoming more universal and less specific-but it's also a metaphor for the ignorance of our current political situation
Also phenomenal is a set of encyclopedias that stands vertically. Pages have been carved one book at a time from top to bottom, leaving only the hard covers, leaving the shape of a contained figure that is ambiguous and universal while at the same time inhuman or otherworldly.
Dettmer's work creates new relationships and meanings that emerge from the alteration of text and image, through sculptural subtraction and forces the viewer to respond with their own loaded feelings and views.