The four front sculptures—West, East, North, and South—depict specific “American” landscapes in their color abstraction while their stitch patterns illustrate the use, exhaustion, and regeneration of energy in the cosmos and the human body. The sculpture in the background, Influence, examines the United States as a political and economic global presence.
Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson, Berkeley Art Museum MATRIX curator, writes: “Suggested North Points, Von Mertens’s MATRIX installation, is about living in America and the artist’s own westward migration. The exhibition includes a floor drawing as well as five quilt sculptures. Four of the five quilts suggest specific places in the North American landscape to form a personal, geographic portrait of the artist, while the floor work—drawing on nineteenth-century cartography—and fifth quilt allegorically posit the age-old quandary of the relationship between an individual and the collective whole: the attempt to find one’s own direction while working within an existing system.”