TATTER issue 2 : Earth
Blue Plant Soil Dust Hope
Particulate Rugs of Madelaine Corbin
“Blue. Plant. Soil. Dust. Hope,” conceptual artist Madelaine Corbin answers, when asked about undercurrents that unify her different bodies of work. An aggregate of pigment, particles, living matter and aspiration permeate the work, asking us to question the boundaries which define things like ‘home,’ ‘value,’ ‘empathy,’ and our escalating crisis of climate change.
One example is a group of stenciled floor works. While each visually signifies a carpet, they aren’t woven, or even made of fiber. Corbin’s rugs are a purposeful dusting of matter (ash, dust, pigment), temporarily delineating a space on the floor, and representing the traditional domestic object. As we encounter them, we become acutely aware of our bodies in space and the potential effects of our movements. Excessive sway of an arm or skirt might stir a wind great enough to alter the work. A misstep could be devastating.
Surprisingly, Corbin is delighted by these unforeseen calamities. For this artist, the work lies in the ‘happening.’ Installation, deinstallation, even accidental rupture, are active, living moments that more accurately represent her concepts than do their periods of stasis on a gallery floor. A goal in the work is often to engage nature – but nature as collaborator, rather than subject. No matter how deliberate these floor offerings might be, their passive state is only a fragment of the idea.