Grid Subversion

by Kerry Cottle

Artist’s Note:

This series of work was generated by a move from Northern California to Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2019, in concert with questioning how to be an artist and maker of objects in the face of extractive capitalism. I made this work to translate my experience of unraveling what it means to be a descendent of European colonizers, and to critically consider the complexity of my positionality while continuing to live on Indigenous land. In spite of these complexities, I also inhabit this space, and this work is a manifestation of my grappling.

Here, I consider the use of the grid as a potentially problematic symbol—something used to reduce, compartmentalize, isolate, homogenize—that has been weaponized by the cultures and people that I descend from. I nudge them out of place so that they slide apart, dissolve, topple, come undone.

These drawings are composed of re-formed paper waste, dyed with local invasive plant matter and soil. The imagery materially consists of foraged charcoal and rhyolite, and egg tempera. All materials were collected within twenty miles of where I live, on Tiwa territory.


Kerry Cottle is a visual artist and MFA candidate in Painting and Drawing at the University of New Mexico. Her work is an ongoing meditation on abstraction and color theory as a method to symbolically consider, restore, and gently subvert flawed value systems.