Michèle Colburn’s practice revolves around themes of violence. Her paintings, sculptures, and installations transform materials of war into mechanisms of political and social critique. These materials, which she combines with traditional art-making mediums, are fraught with violent associations. Colburn aims to create an aesthetically seductive viewing experience to provoke curiosity and reflection.
Manipulating deadly armaments echoes Colburn’s biography as a lifelong peace activist. Transforming these materials is a process that renders them impotent. Her gunpowder paintings began as meditations on past wars and have evolved into reflections of current events. Combining wet gunpowder grounds with liquid acrylics and brilliant watercolors, she creates chaotic abstract landscapes that reflect the contemporary moment.
Michèle Colburn was born in Washington, DC. She has held several solo shows, notably at the Arlington Arts Center (VA) and Franklin & Marshall College (PA). She has participated in group shows across the United States, including the Katzen Museum (DC), George Mason University (VA), and Ethan Cohen Gallery (NY). Colburn’s numerous accolades include a Vermont Studio Center residency, the Puffin Foundation Grant, the Muong Studio Residency in Hòa Bình, Vietnam, and most recently, the DC Arts and Humanities Artist Grant. Her work is held in collections in the United States and Bangkok.