Michigan is a bathymetric map of Lake Michigan, which means it is an underwater topographic map. All maps are an abstraction, meaning that they are a simplification of the reality being mapped. Most of the information from the natural world is removed, until the object remaining is on the edge of being unrecognizable, focusing the attention of the viewer on what the map maker believes is essential. When a viewer stands on the shore of Lake Michigan and looks out over the lake, it appears infinite and powerful. When viewed from above as from a space capsule orbiting the earth, the same lake seems small and fragile. By creating a smaller finite object to represent Lake Michigan, the artist is trying to communicate the finite, fragile nature of the lake to reinforce the need for every person to protect and care for it.
This artwork was funded in part by the Roger and Joanna Garrett Fund.
Michigan is dedicated in honor of Governor William and Helen Milliken.
Brian Ferriby is currently on faculty at the Art Institute of Michigan and Sculptor/Designer at Inde Studio and Gallery, Novi, MI. Previously he was an adjunct faculty member at Oakland Community College. He earned a MFA in Metalsmithing from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a Master of Architecture from University of Michigan.