MICHELE COLBURN (US)

My work is influenced by our 15-year involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. Works prior to 2010, explored, from a more personal perspective, the themes of distance and loss as they related to American deployments to these theaters of war. 

I comment on the idea of military indoctrination that comes from the external sociocultural arena and internal sources from inside the family. I also create work that addresses military-style violence within our culture.

While researching these ideas, I soon discovered toys for toddlers with weapon-like shapes and military and hunting camouflage patterns presented as "cool"  and fashionable fabrics, clothing and accessories. These motifs are used on infant wear and diaper bags. These items seemed to underscore the notion that direct or subliminal ideas of militarism were alive and well through advertising and the development of commercial products, and were being marketed to parents of very young children.To emphasize the notion of indoctrination I mined the newborn state of life for inspiration to create objectsthat mimic manufactured products, but that fall within the realm of the absurd or surreal.

 More recently, materiality has become more important tome.  Works since 2014 are made of surplus military trip wire produced for the Vietnam War and Ialso use gun powder in my two dimensional works of late. My hand intervenes and mingles amongst these materials of violence, and transforms them. They no longer look the same. They have been repurposed and rendered impotent.