Shannon Rankin – More Than Just Maps

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Shannon Rankin is an interdisciplinary artist from Maine in the US. She creates mixed media artworks that plot the connections between geography and


She says “in search of finding connections between geography, anatomy, and botany, I combine the visual elements of maps, anatomical illustrations, and natural forms to explore themes of travel, healing, and time.

“Maps depicting mountain ranges, roads, lakes, and rivers, resemble internal biological features, reproductive anatomy, skeletal structures, and networks of the human body. Symbols of cities become acupuncture points, and meridian lines, like rivers, represent an internal system of communication and transport. Geometric seed patterns, made of globe-like pieces of map, reference small worlds, suggesting the potential for a broader landscape. The ephemeral nature of maps, speak to the fragility, and transitory state of our lives and our surroundings.


In many ways this use of maps seems like a simple concept, but Shannon makes those connections between the land and the human form, and it all makes sense. The bird imagery, which is a recurring theme, reminds me of the connections migrating species have with the world – connections which we cannot understand as land dwellers.

Shannon’s more recent work has moved beyond embroidery, but her exploration of the form and feeling of maps remains a strong theme. You can read about her work on her website, and enjoy her process on Instagram.