Assembly Flag 

Assembly Flag is a screenprinted, ripstop-nylon flag, printed by Graham McDougal specifically for STNDRD, an ongoing program of artist-made flags. Its figurative imagery is drawn from an illustration found in a catalog of decorative typography.  Published in Philadelphia (1809) by one of the first American type foundries, this catalog presents what could be described as 19th century versions of pictograms or emojis. These include an assortment of flowers, animals, ships and symbols associated with institutions, trades, professions, and government. They were used as stock illustrations, circulated, and printed within literature, newspapers, novels, and advertisements. McDougal has created the imagery of Assembly Flag from an early variation of the US federal shield and flag. Digital technology has been used to distort and anthropomorphize the source, transforming its elements into a collective assembly of figures.

The bodies that emerge from this abstracted imagery have been woven together with a digital montage of lines that evoke processes of engraving or woodcut. The original illustration was transformed by scanning and moving the page at varying speeds in response to the motion of the scanner’s sensor. This records a series of visual waves and distortions within the image that resemble fluctuations of wind and the billowing of a flag’s fabric. Composed as a repeating pattern, the image embraces the potential for these figures to assemble and gather in larger numbers. Assembly refers to both the montage composition and printing of the work but more importantly, assembly refers to a public gathering. The figures within the Assembly Flag form a new symbol for solidarity, built-upon years and generations of distortion, protest, and demonstration. With arms linked and with their bodies on the line, the figures stand in anticipation of their place in a future landscape.

STNDRD is an artist-run public art project organized by Sage Dawson and based in the Saint Louis Metro area in Granite City, Illinois at Granite City Art and Design District (G-CADD).