Stux Gallery presents the solo New York gallery premiere of Martha Colburn’s films, transparencies and installations. Her animated film, Cosmetic Emergency, will be featured in the Whitney Biennial, Day For Night, at the Whitney Museum of American Art from March 2nd through May 28th, 2006.
Colburn’s work utilizes elements of cultural detritus to comment on consumerism, politics, sexuality, and cultural memory. Through a collage of live action (paint-on-glass) animations, found footage and documentary filmmaking techniques, her works are a disturbing, and at times humorous take on pop culture.
Skelehellavision (2001), a hand-animated 16mm film, is set on location in the netherworld. Greeting you as you descend into Hades is a disturbing cast of characters that include 70’s porn stars, bats, snakes and lizards. Animating directly onto the film, Colburn etches away the film emulsion to render the gyrating adult stars of the film into wickedly depraved skeletons. In There’s A Pervert In Our Pool! (1998), Colburn introduces her collaged animated puppets; characters that make appearances in many of her films. Populated by the likes of Bill Clinton, Edgar G. Hoover, dogs, penguins and giraffes in bondage, this film acts as a stinging commentary on the widespread media obsession with sexual infidelity, celebrity and political corruption. In Spiders In Love: An Arachnogasmic Musical (2000), Colburn examines a particularly irritable grouping of “She-Spiders,” whose overt expression of lust ends with the ghoulish consumption of phalluses.
Concerned not only with the fetishistic treatment of specific film genres, Colburn singles out the materials inherent to the medium itself. The plastic and emulsion of 16mm film is utilized, in large-scale collages, to make reference to, among other things, subject matter as diverse as “fetish sex,” and it’s utilization of plastic, rubber and latex. Colburn slices and cuts and then reassembles her collection of found film into collages that act to “elevate” the material of film and bring to it a new visual dimensionality.
Also on display will be an installation of meticulously crafted paper “puppets.” The puppets, themselves “characters” rescued from the artist’s numerous films, are installed in the gallery with a heightened dramatic affect enhanced by shadows cast from an array of hand painted slide projections. Concerned with the social and cultural pressures exerted on the body and its representation in the media, these works transcend the traditional confines of narrative filmmaking and succeed in fetishizing the materials of the medium.