For this exhibition, the artist references satellite images of locations around the globe to create large-scale mixed-media pieces assembled from intricately cut paper, metal and wood. Colburn examines the Anthropocene and the power of humans to move, manipulate and see on a magnified global scale. The work underscores the magnitude of our distance from the actual digging of oil and ore by keeping our view zoomed out, at a scale only accessible by map, model or satellite. The title of the exhibition references how we perceive the natural world, attaching value to the “goods” we extract from it.
Semiprecious springs from Adriane Colburn’s longstanding penchant for research and direct experience participating in scientific expeditions in the Arctic, the Amazon, and at sea. Her past excursions deepen her interests in the complex relationships between human infrastructure, earth systems, technology and the natural world. For her new collection, the artist sourced NASA satellite images, shipping data, ocean currents models and trade patterns to base her abstract interpretations of these sprawling structural systems. The worldwide locations—from West Texas to China—include sites of mass copper, rare earth and gold mining, fracking, and material transportation routes. Colburn has traveled to some of these regions in the past, yet as she references satellite imagery for Semiprecious, she furthers her reflection on the intersection of personal experience and technological interpretation.
Colburn's practice explores materiality and is largely drawing-based. She often pushes her medium by incorporating the third dimension with assemblage and layers of hand-cut paper. The works of Semiprecious are delicate yet evocative as the artist weighs both the privilege and ramification of our generation’s new accessibility to view the earth at great distances through technology. Does this weaken our connection to the natural world despite amplifying what we can see? Colburn ponders if we now rely on technology before experience. Adriane Colburn, Fairway, 2018. Inkjet on silk, acrylic, reclaimed wood, 10 x 8 feet.