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Erika Osborne: Mapping Projects


Summary Note

The archive Erika Osborne: Mapping Projects consists of materials related to Erika Osborne's artworks developed during her time with the Land Arts of American West program at the University of New Mexico. Her work explores how human bodies, landscapes, and maps relate to one another. Materials include digital prints, maps, research materials, drawings, video, and a sculptural artwork.

Biographical Note

Erika Osborne was born in Salt Lake City in 1978 and earned her BFA at the University of Utah in 2000. Shortly thereafter she moved to Albuquerque to work on her MFA at the University of New Mexico. During her studies she became involved with the Land Arts of the American West. This semester-long program offered annually took students across the American Southwest to study and make work in response to various land installations ranging from Michael Heizer’s Double Negative to Hoover Dam. Upon graduating she became Gilbert’s field assistant for running the program. In 2008 she became an Assistant Professor of Art at West Virginia University in Morgantown, where she teaches Art and Environment and Place: Appalachia, which she teaches in addition to painting and drawing.

Scope and Content

While a graduate student at the University of New Mexico, Osborne participated in the Land Arts of the American West program. Her primary work as an artist during those were mapping projects connecting the human body to the land, as well as to specific trees. During her first trip, she created totemic pendants using small photographs of sites along with found materials (Wearing Place, 2003). She also made detailed portraits of individual trees in the landscape (Tree Drawings, 2003). Osborne asked fellow students and faculty to pose shirtless facing away from her and into the landscape. She then drew on their backs the contour lines and bodies of water from topographical maps that represented the places they were facing (Imprinting Place, 2004). In her final series she painted maps on the backs of students, maps that showed conditions such as spruce beetle infestations and public land sales (Mapping Bodily Connection, 2005.) She had the painted students stand in the gallery and facing maps scaled to match the maps on their backs. They then cutout their shadow on the map, peeled it away from the wall, and walked away, leaving an absence in the landscape instead of a presence.


Erika Osborne: Mapping Projects is organized into three folders.

Inclusive Dates


Bulk Dates


Quantity / Extent

.25 cubic feet



Related Archive Collections

  • CAE0902: Land Arts of the American West Program

Related Publications

Gilbert, Bill, Land Arts of the American West. Albuquerque NM; Austin TX: University of New Mexico; University of Texas, 2003.

Harmon, Katharine A. The Map as Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography. New York, NY: Princeton Architectural Press, 2009.

Taylor, Chris, and Bill Gilbert. Land Arts of the American West. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2008.

Container Listing:

  • CAE Box 6

    • Folder 1 Research Materials 1999 - 2005
    • Folder 2 Artworks 2003 - 2005
    • Folder 3 Lecture 2013

Additional Materials

    CAE Box 14 - Tray 3 Small Objects

    • 2#12a Wearing Place, Sculpture, 2003

    CAE Flat File F2 Oversized Items

    • 1#4e Manti-La Sal National Forest North Zone, Spruce Beetle Detection Map, 2004
    • 1#4f Manti-La Sal National Forest North Zone, Spruce Beetle Detection Map, 2004
    • 1#5b Kaibab National Forest Demotte Quad, Map, 2005
    • 1#5c Kaibab National Forest Timp Quad, Map, 2005
    • 2#13 Recording Blue Notch, Photograph, 2004
    • 2#14 Interpreting Blue Notch, Photograph, 2005
    • 2#15 Interpreting Fire Point, Photograph, 2005
    • 2#16 Imprinting Place #1, Transfer Print, 2005
    • 2#17 Imprinting Place #2, Transfer Print, 2005
    • 2#18 Imprinting Place #3, Transfer Print, 2005

    CAE Flat File F18 Oversized Items

    • 1#5d Kaibab National Forest King Arthurs Castle Quad, Map, 2005
    • 1#5e Kaibab National Forest Kanabownits Spring Quad, Map, 2005
    • 2#19 Pinyon – Cedar Mesa, UT, Drawing, 2004
    • 2#20a Fire Point Timber Sale I (Test Print), 2005
    • 2#20b Fire Point Timber Sale II (Test Print), 2005
    • 2#21a Manti La Sal Spruce Beetle Detection I (Test Print), 2005
    • 2#21b Manti La Sal Spruce Beetle Detection II (Test Print), 2005