Martha Colburn’s Myth Labs presents an extended metaphor in which America’s founding myths are likened to so many unstable elements as if cooked up in a methamphetamine lab. Colburn posits drug use, violence, and religious indoctrination as interconnected elements in American history. Through clever juxtapositions, Colburn conflates past and present, linking contemporary social issues with the first contact between Pilgrims and Native Americans. The pulsing musical soundtrack is an integral aspect of this work and it appears as if the music is the catalyst that drives the narrative forward.
Martha Colburn was born in 1971 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and she lives and works in Amsterdam and New York. She studied art at the Maryland Institute College of Art and the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. Colburn began filmmaking in 1994 and since then has developed a dynamic aesthetic combining collage, puppetry, and paint-on-glass techniques in stop-action animations. In her pursuit to examine issues of history, politics, sexuality, consumerism, and popular culture, Colburn presents narratives propelled with frenetic urgency. Her work has been exhibited internationally at museums such as the Centre Pompidou in Paris; P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in New York; and The Museum of Modern Art. Colburn participated in the 2006 Whitney Biennial in New York.