Aleksandra Mir

Aleksandra Mir, Greengrassi

Time Out, London, Nov 2005
By Martin Coomer

WELCOME Sometimes
28 Oct - 3 Dec 2005
Greengrassi, 1a Kempsford Road, London - UK

Like her publications, performances and proposal for public sculptures, Aleksandra Mir's drawings are combinations of 80s idealism and this twenty-first century legacy. Consisting of eight sheets of paper, each piece contains an outline of the USA to which the artist has added text and imagery - retro fonts and motifs - lovingly filled-in with black marker pen by a team of assistants. Floating on a chequerboard background, one land mass reverberates with delicate vertical strokes that recall mountain ranges or for that is parted to reveal the world 'Welcome'; written darkly underneath is the more emphatic 'sometimes', a qualification that could refer to an exotic butterfly/beast that threatens the Eastern seaboard. Again written cross-country, the phrase 'Draft Me Hard' contrasts with a border comprised of a tracery of exquisite flowers. Divided into states that contain beautiful rosehips, grasses, oak, leaves and berries, another 'map' is sullied by the name 'Real Real Estate Flowers' emblazoned across the bottom of the picture.
The mix-and-match aesthetic is familiar but Mir's wandering mind (exemplified by the jolting line crossing 'You are my roadtrip') takes you in more interesting circles than you might expect. The images may recall counter-cultural bumper stickers, but they also revel in the human touch. The emphatic outline of the States is softened by a process which, like the workings of a latter-day quilting circle, unleashes comforting thoughts of camaraderie, optimism and shared goals. It's enough to make you believe, fleetingly, in the redemptive power of art.