Adriane Colburn is an artist based in San Francisco, CA. For the past several years, she has been working on a series of installations and maps that seek to organize and chart changes in the natural and urban landscape. These constructions, made of layers of hand cut paper often shed light on systems that exist below or those that are shielded by its exterior. Colburn maps out these “inaccessible” places, by collating and reorganizing visual information, (often based on landscapes or history) to create an abstraction that can be both informative and/or ambiguous.
She has exhibited her work nationally and throughout the Bay Area at Gallery 16, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Wattis Gallery at CCA, Southern Exposure, Stephen Wolf Fine Arts and Luggage Store Gallery (also co-curated the No War show, 2002) and internationally at the Nordic Watercolor Museum in Sweden and at Artesterium in Tblisi, Georgia. She teaches as a visiting lecturer at Stanford University and The San Francisco Art Institute. Colburn received her MFA from Stanford University and her BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has been a resident artist at the Kala Art Institute, Macdowell Colony, The Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping at UNH, The Headlands Center for the Arts and The Blue Mountain Center, and is a recent recipient of an Artadia Award and a Eureka Fellowship.
this new exhibition opens in Vienna, Austria May, 2010
For the past several years I have been working on a series of cartographic installations comprised of layers of hand cut paper, light and shadow. These constructions depict aspects of the world which we cannot normally see; a microscopic organism, an image from the depths of our interior anatomy, a labyrinth of pipes and systems buried beneath us or the land we live on as it was 200 years before. I am interested in how these inaccessible places are transformed once they are flattened into two dimensions and mapped out, and how the visualization of information, a system, landscape or history, creates an abstraction that can be simultaneously informative and ambiguous.
The act of ordering our surroundings by way of a chart or image is both an effort to make sense of the tangle that is the world we live in and an investigation into that which we truly cannot know. Within this attempt to analyze environments through mapping, we go through a process of elimination, editing out all information except a minute selection that becomes illuminated. In my artwork, I often do this through physical removal, cutting out everything except the imperative line and thus creating maps that are equally informed by voids and positive marks. Within this process of cutting, an intricate system of reflective shadows results, expanding on the actual object. These ghost lines often overpower the physical piece itself, creating an ambiguous space between what is solid and what is ethereal.
In my most recent works, I reference systems that we utilize in everyday life, but are largely removed from our consciousness. Sprawling organisms such as urban sewer and water systems and the global network of pipes and refineries that develop and transport oil have been fodder for an investigation of the complex yet base, and at times grotesque, constructs that support modern society.
text & more on Adriane Colburn