August–September 2022

Cesar E. Lopez


This series of paintings is based on the structures that lay below maps. Latitudinal and longitudinal lines form a grid, and this grid has had many uses throughout history. To the Flemish geographer and cartographer Gerardus Mercator, a rectilinear grid aided in the making of maps for ship navigation. These sorts of tools have helped define me on my journey as an immigrant in America. For generations, various peoples have used these means to form their understanding of place and belonging. My variations on maps and globes provide alternatives that leave room for those of us who have not been included in these histories and images.

Maps have carried many interpretations and meanings throughout history. Beyond the physical, they can communicate a mental or spiritual journey. These works are more than an exercise in geography. The paintings in this body of work take on a northward orientation, expressing a sense of northward longing that is present in certain immigrant communities, particularly the idea that migration in a certain direction delivers a promise for a better life. My work is not unlike conventional maps in this way—maps can reveal as much about the maker as they do about the geography they depict.


About the artist:

Cesar E. Lopez (B. 1991, Guatemala; Kansas City-based) uses geographic language such as flags, maps, and globes to make visual and culturally significant works. Merging formal elements of painting and personal history. Cesar’s work explores the 3rd space by showcasing fictitious flags and manipulating them into personal narratives. His sampling of geographic symbols indicates meaning while retaining abstract form, which touches on the duality of his practice and identity.

IG: @youngbauhaus