SHANE WATT

Empatheia

Shane Watt is a contemporary artist based in Montreal, Canada. Best known for his semi-fictitious, multi-media maps, Watt has exhibited both locally and internationally, and his work has been featured in online and print publications. In 2010, he was selected as a contributing artist for the high-profile exhibition, “You are here: Mapping the Psycho-geography of New York City,” curated by Katharine Harmon at the Pratt Institute in Manhattan and in addition has produced four outdoor murals in both Canada and the United States. In addition to exhibiting, Watt regularly completes uniquely designed commissions and his work is included in gallery and private collections throughout North America, the United Kingdom, Dubai and Europe. Recently, one of Watt’s pieces made it onto a list compiled by The Guardian (UK) of the top-ten hand-drawn maps by contemporary artists.

Working with a range of media, including paint, pen and ink, as well as less traditional materials, such as garbage and blood, Watt produces intricate and inventive maps through a process of creative cartography. Each piece incorporates both real and imagined locations and all are connected through a cryptic and conceptual meta-narrative constructed by the artist. The maps represent a world at once familiar and fundamentally foreign. Their aesthetic does bare some resemblance to traditional map-making, but upon close inspection the usual indicators of place and perspective are often undermined, overturned or imaginatively redesigned. These cities and spaces are mapped out according to the intricacies and interactions of people, politics and ideas, rather than standard statistics or coordinates. Encompassing political and personal statements on a wide range of topics (including women’s rights, environmental uncertainty, love and addiction), Watt’s artistic practice facilitates a form contemporary commentary displayed in the coded details and design of each map.