EAI is pleased to present a screening and talk with artist Martha Colburn. Over the last two decades, Colburn has created a constellation of intricate, politically charged animated worlds on film, using rigorous stop-motion animation, armies of found images and objects, and copious amounts of paint, glass, and tape. At EAI, Colburn will screen and speak about a selection of recent films that explore war, conquest, faith, and history—taking in America's recent military experiences in the Middle East along the way—as well as early and rarely seen found-film and animation experiments, music video projects, performance documents, and a 2011 animated PSA on fracture mining (fracking) in New York State.
Colburn transforms the historical narratives and found images that emerge from her research into layered landscapes, characters, props, and special effects. Found images cut from books and magazines are altered using paint and scissors, uniting lush and expressive painting with appropriated images—particularly photographic images of iconic political and cultural figures. Colburn's paintbrush changes soldiers into skeletons, terrorists into bats, and cowboys on horses into tanks. Extended in time and manipulated through animation, her jam-packed tableaux coalesce and disintegrate, exploring novel connections between historical events. Colburn's works, realized almost entirely through in-camera edits, unfold like performances and draw energy from improvisation. In her films and live performances, Colburn combines her dramatic imagery with propulsive soundtracks produced by musicians such as Jad Fair, Deerhoof, Felix Kubin, and Mystical Weapons (Sean Lennon and Greg Saunier), among many others.
America's tumultuous history is a major theme for the artist. In her narratives, Colburn harnesses America's myths and legends as locations for trial-by-combat. By blending familiar figures and stories with unfamiliar figures from further afield, she brings distant tragedies into domestic settings on her collaged battlegrounds. Colburn's exquisitely timed and meticulously crafted moving-image landscapes are filled with explosive historical memories—Vietnam, American manifest destiny, African dictators, religious extremists of all faiths, a century of mechanized, industrial war—waiting to burst forth when her camera lens shifts into position. Colburn's animations channel the desires of the oppressed and silenced for justice and revenge, punishing a parade of brutal despots and war criminals in effigy by placing them on the receiving end of their own violence.
Martha Colburn was born in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in 1971. Colburn earned a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1994 and attended the Rijksakademie Van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam in 2002. Her films and music videos are regularly included in festivals around the world, including Rotterdam International Film Festival, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Sundance Film Festival, Park City, Utah; and the London International Film Festival, London; among others. Her works have been screened and exhibited internationally, including at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; The Kitchen, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; MoMA PS1, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Serpentine Gallery, London; Nanjing Art Institute Gallery, Nanjing, China; Museum of Contemporary Art, Lyon; Contemporary Art Center, Vilnius, Lithuania; The Museum of the Moving Image, New York; National Film Archive, Prague; Anthology Film Archive, New York; James Cohan Gallery, New York; Harris Leiberman Gallery, New York; and Diverse Works Art Space, Houston; among others. She has had solo exhibitions at Frans Hals Museum De Hallen, Haarlem, Netherlands; Galerie Bob Van Orsouw, Zurich,; Galerie Diana Stigter, Amsterdam; Stux Gallery, New York; and De Kabinetten van de Vleeshal, Middelburg, Netherlands.
Colburn's work is included in the permanent collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Stedelijik Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; among others. She has received awards from the New York Underground Film Festival (2003, 1999) and the Chicago Underground Film Festival (2002, 1999), and grants from the Rema Hort Mann Foundation (2007), New York Foundation for the Arts (2007), New York State Council for the Arts (2007), Jerome Foundation (2006), Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (2005), and the Dutch Film Fund (2004-05). In 2011 Colburn was featured and profiled on the PBS series "Art21: New York Close Up."
Colburn lives and works in Long Island City, New York and Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
For more information about Martha Colburn, visit www.marthacolburn.com
Founded in 1971, Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) is one of the world's leading nonprofit resources for video art. A pioneering advocate for media art and artists, EAI fosters the creation, exhibition, distribution, and preservation of video art and digital art. EAI's core program is the distribution and preservation of a major collection of over 3,500 new and historical media works by artists. EAI's activities include viewing access, educational services, extensive online resources, and public programs such as artists' talks, exhibitions and panels. The Online Catalogue is a comprehensive resource on the artists and works in the EAI collection, and also features extensive materials on exhibiting, collecting and preserving media art:
Visit Circa 1971: Early Video & Film from the EAI Archive, an exhibition of 20 moving-image works at Dia:Beacon, organized on the occasion of EAI's 40th Anniversary.
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This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.