Emily Wick

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The Fifty United States and their Mottos, 2008

Digitally assembled linocuts, 30" x 40"

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From Mapping America (Black Dog Publishing, 2010):

"Emily Wick's The Fifty United States and their Mottos is composed of 50 separate linoleum block prints, each of which were individually carved, printed, scanned and ditigally scaled. This interpretation of the American map as a patchwork of individual state mottos likens the landscape to a colorful fabric imprinted with the country's ideological history.

It is also worth noting that the sentiment of the country's national motto "In God We Trust" does not extend to every state; in fact, only six states make reference to religion in one form or another. Others are drawn from an undiscerning assortment of sources--anything from the rich well of classical literature to the altogether more lowbrow arena of a newspaper competition, as with Alaska's "North to the Future", which was devised and won by Richard Peter in 1967. In as much as they are meant to be inspirational, many mottos can be understood beyond their idiomatic natures as loaded with social and historical significance. Illinois' "State sovereignty, National Union" originially expressed tensions about the rights of individual states to maintain slavery, while Wyoming's "Equal Rights" marks it as one of the first territories in the world to give women the vote. Elsewhere, the references are altogether more saccharine, such as Texas's "Friendship"--derived from the Native American word taysha--or even philosophical, as in Washington's "By and By". Despite the ease in finding common themes amongst the mottos, Emily Wick's map equally articulates the cultural differences borne from a turbulent history."

To see individual states and to purchase prints, visit fiftystatesmottos.com

Artworks by Emily Wick

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