Val Britton

Region: Pacific Coast


City / State: Portland, OR

I make immersive collaged drawings that draw on the language of maps. The impetus for my project was my longing to connect to my father, a long-haul truck driver who died many years ago. Based on road maps of the U.S., routes my father often traveled, and an invented conglomeration, mutation, and fragmentation of those passageways, my works on paper help me piece together the past and make up the parts I cannot know.

I never know how these pieces will be resolved or what the end-product will be since they are not planned. This compels me to put myself in an explorative mode, employing the abstract space of the map to create a pliable structure for intuition, improvisation and chance. Connecting paper fragments together through collage, drawing in delicate layers, staining with salty washes of ink, printing, and cutting paper have become my methods for navigating the blurry terrain of memory and imagination. Spending time constructing the small parts that accumulate to create a large work, I find a meditative possibility in working with my hands, creating a closeness and depth of value for me. Mapping serves as a metaphor for searching, an implication of the unknown in wide, open spaces, and a trace of how we see where we've been.