Patterns of Place

“Remember your first experience of a snow globe? As children, when we stared into them, we entered other worlds. Pat Potter’s Isomorphic Map Tables and 1:1 Map Insets are a version – a highly evolved and complex version – of this limited phenomenon let loose into the world.” 

– Opening to Lucy Lippard’s exhibition catalog essay for Patterns of Place

Patricia Boinest Potter creates enigmatic artworks in the form of three-dimensional maps that she refers to as Isomorphic Map Tables and 1:1 Map Insets. These works contain seeds for different ways of knowing—new systems for apprehending the world. At once philosophical and scientific, Potter’s art provides viewers with a new set of lenses through which to see, grasp, and ultimately comprehend.

The artist says that the inception of this series came after studying the murmuration of starlings, one of nature’s most spectacular celestial visual displays. Mimicking the movements of its closest neighbors, each bird in the flock responds to microchanges in speed or direction. Thus, one bird’s movement amplifies and distorts the movement of all of those around it, demonstrating chaos theory—larger patterns created by infinitely varied smaller patterns.

In Potter’s words:

“While looking for patterns of movement, I found the murmuration of starlings and a peloton of racing bikers to have similar flocking patterns. It is this pattern of energy that each table maps. The movement is from three dimensions to multidimensions.”

Mark Sloan

” PATTERNS OF PLACE isomorphic map tables ” book purchase 

“…she makes space collapse into a tiny sphere of conscious awareness that contains within itself all of the intricately textured richness of the world… 

Time is notoriously difficult to translate into the three dimensions we see when looking at sculpture, but Potter’s play between abstraction and place enables her to maintain a sense of natural form that provides the fissures into which time can be introduced. Branching pathways and streams, journeys outward and inward, lived experience and immersion in place at different times of one’s life, light and shadow translated into materials that themselves are ethereal, and appear to be in the process of changing—all these can shake up the viewer’s sense of space, and therefore time.” 

– Lucy Lippard

Patterns of Place 2015 :

Douglas Hofstadter,

Mark Sloan,

Patricia Boinest Potter

ISOMORPHIC MAP TABLES : photography by Claire Boscher

8″ x 8” MAP INSETS

-the first measurements were made with an 8″x8″ square chai

Photography by: David Walters – Avalon Studio



Patterns of Place : 2015 Halsey Institute Charleston, SC