Lane Hall and Lisa Moline use the phrase "observe the overlooked" to describe the unusual imagery of their art. Layering and juxtaposing the micro with the macro, the work of this Milwaukee-based artist duo pushes the viewer to re-evaluate both urban and natural environments. Macropolis consists of two discrete panels; Smallish, There Was a Shrugging portrays frogs and mollusks set against a backdrop of graphs and tables. The second panel, Nebulous, the Most Terrible, illustrates a gathering of monarch caterpillars and images of young insects in various types of representation–from realistic photographs to pixilated computer scans. Examining both individual life forms and context, the artists probe the changing division between "city" and "country." The mural hangs alongside the bustling thoroughfare of State Street, providing a visual attraction for the future site of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. In keeping with the artists' desire for an ongoing dialogue with passersby, the piece will be supplemented with additional elements from time to time. Hall and Moline will install two new panels in the same locations in Spring 2005.
Macropolis is generously supported by the Madison Cultural Arts District; the Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission with additional funds from the Madison Community Foundation and the Overture Foundation; a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin; The Art League of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art; the Exhibition Initiative Fund; and the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art’s 20042005 Sustaining Benefactors.
A Short Interview with Lane Hall and Lisa Moline
How do you define "Macropolis"?
We often work with “micro/macro” scale shifts and imagery derived from pseudo-scientific technologies. Macro refers to things observable with the unaided eye, but suggests that such things are often overlooked. “Macropolis” is a constructed word referring to these things within an ever-increasing urban environment. We are particularly interested in species and specimens that are found within this urban context. But the word also suggests a saturation point of urbanization -- a process of urban spread and sprawl that is forcing constant redefinition of our “urban/natural” construct.
How does the Macropolis imagery relate to the MMoCA construction site, or to Madison and urban settings generally?
We are working with specimens collected in both Madison and Milwaukee, as our interests are always rooted locally. We are also deriving “slogans” from Internet viruses and spam ‘filter-jamming’ texts hidden within many email messages. While none of these sources specifically deals with construction sites, we have chosen image and text relationships that suggest change, sustainability, and both natural and civic processing cycles. In a sense, we are creating indirect political documents that index the kinds of processes that great cities are built upon. Mostly, we hope that the pieces communicate a general mandate to “observe the overlooked.” And of course, as artists and designers, we are interested in creating compelling visual artifacts.
Is there anything you'd like to say about your time in Madison and your connection to the city?
We went to graduate school in Madison and met in Madison, and have been collaborating ever since. By happenstance, we ended up living and working in Milwaukee. It has been great to have an ongoing relationship with MMoCA and Madison in general.