Maternal Geographies, 2013-2016
This body of work explores the female form as geography, investigates the process of becoming home upon the advent of motherhood, and examines how this transition expands notions of homeland. Here is the press release (originally published on the Portland Community College website):
Maternal Geographies examines the consciousness that emerges kinetically during the tectonic shifts between woman, mother, and formlessness. Comprised of collages built with paper, fabric, and found objects during the first three years of motherhood, Maternal Geographies artist Emma Colburn surveys the body as a landscape that shifts with seasons of life. Using vibrant imagery she captures the vibrations of transformation, building portraits of bodies (models, family members, and her own) to redefine the relationship between self and other into self as other. And the resulting work formalizes this reflection: depicting and embodying, gazing at while coming from, exploring feminine forms from within them. Talking back to an art historical gaze that projects femininity and wilderness as sites of capture, she plays on the shoulders of landscape painting by presenting motherhood as a process of becoming a homeland. And this is the journey that guides her work from, formalizing inquiries into space-based notions of belonging to renegotiate them. Abstract maps process the new relationships that emerge by locating home somatically. And with the houses she grew up in down the street, this body of work finds a perfect, if temporary, “home” at PCC. Installed in the Commons Gallery of the Division Campus from 28 June - 3 September 2016, the artist invites students, faculty, neighbors and staff to engage the work this summer, with an artist talk on June 28th from 4-5pm and a closing reception on September 1st from 5-7pm. Both events are free and open to the public, and all ages are welcome to attend.