#65: Amber Cobb
We asked artist Amber Cobb to answer the 100CC questionnaire as a tie-in to a couple of shows the Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design instructor and current RedLine resident has coming up this weekend, but she was a little late getting back to us with her answers.
"I had to finalize a few pieces for my solo show and a piece for Not Exactly this week," she wrote. "One of the pieces weighs about 1,400 pounds, and I ran into some problems moving the object around." In an indirect way, she defined the reality of being an artist, which is closely related to Thomas Edison's adage about genius being "one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration."
Amber Cobb, "Bitter Bliss," 2013. Ink and platinum silicone rubber on paper.
Cobb went on to explain that the piece in question was a concrete mattress that she'd just removed from its rubber mold the day before, and that the result was awesome...way more so than she'd expected.
You can see the mattress on Saturday, June 1, as part of the exhibit Not Exactly, which opens that day at RedLine Gallery. And the night before, on Friday, May 31, Cobb's solo show Alterations Disconnect Memories from the Dream opens at Gildar Gallery. That's a well-loaded plate, considering the scope of Cobb's work.
Cobb did eventually send us her answers. They explain a lot about who she is, and how and why she does what she does, against all odds.
Westword: If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
Amber Cobb: Tough question, and it's difficult to decide on just one. I would have to start with Eva Hesse. I'm infatuated with her use of material and form. The objects are formal yet erotic and minimal, but so personal. Mike Kelly is also at the top of the list. His early passing broke my heart. I love his fearless, rebellious nature and his ability to make the ugly beautiful and the rejected wanted. I think working with him would be challenging, I could see him pushing me way beyond my comfort level.
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
Oh no, I'm so ashamed of my answer. Honestly I can't think of anyone right now. I've been extremely out of touch the last few weeks and isolated in the studio.
What's one art trend you want to see die this year?
I don't really like this question. It's difficult to judge. Trends exist for a reason, and sometimes following a trend is part of the journey to finding your own voice.
What's your day job?
I am an adjunct instructor at Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design. I also work part-time at the CU Art Museum.
Amber Cobb, "Sometimes Washing Your Hands Just Isn't Enough," 2013. Mattress material, motor oil, household cleaners, platinum silicone rubber.
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
I would erect a giant art-making compound on an enormous piece of land. I want the space and ability to stack piles and piles of material for sculptures and installations within the compound. These piles would include mattress, architectural salvage, car parts and furniture. I would be sure to travel as much as possible. Even with unlimited funds, I would still want to travel the same way I do now, lowbrow and off the beaten path. I would just do it more.
What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?
The Denver art community is so supportive. I have really felt embraced by everyone. I think the obvious answer is funding local art establishments and artists. However, there are so many other ways the community can support the arts. Renting out your garage for a month to an artist or volunteering your time to help out with events. If you have some fabrication skills or are great at editing and writing, contact a place like Pirate, Ice Cube or RedLine and offer up your services to a larger community of artists.
Most artists go into the arts knowing the money won't be great but there are so many emotional benefits that make it worthwhile. Any support we get goes a long way even if it's just your presence at our opening or a short e-mail conveying your interests and appreciation of the work.
Amber Cobb, "Amid the Ruins of Rest, 2012. Mattress material and acrylic.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
This is tough. There are so many talented artists in the area. So many people I love and admire. However, I have had a giant art crush on Theresa Anderson for some time. I think it is beyond a crush now, and a full-on love affair.
What's still coming up for you in the 2013?
This Friday, May 31, my solo show, Alterations Disconnect Memory From the Dream, opens at the Gildar Gallery. All of the work is brand=spanking new.
On Saturday, June 1, RedLine's summer exhibition called Not Exactly opens. My piece, "As I Adapt," is a concrete mattress I created while an artist-in-residence at Demiurge, a sculpture fabrication company in Denver.
I will be doing a site-specific installation for the Biennial of the Americas, curated by Cortney Stell, that opens in July.
In the fall, I will be doing a temporary interactive installation at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, as part of their Present Box series.
In October I will be included in a group show curated by Lanny DuVuono, titled the Ironic Object.
Who do you think will get noticed this year in Denver's art scene?
I would start with Jason Below. His newest body of work explores masculinity through sculpture and drawing in a deconstructing manner. He offers a unique perspective that is comical yet sensitive. His fabrication skills and technical abilities are unbelievable. He can create any form/object with any material he wants.
Tobias Fike is another artist I have been following the past few years. He is an interdisciplinary artist whose work explores his relationship with his family relationships, place and loss. I am in awe of his ability to transcend a variety of mediums in the same poetic manner.
Throughout the year, we'll be shining the spotlight on 100 superstars from Denver's rich creative community. Stay tuned to Show and Tell for more, or visit the 100 Colorado Creatives archive to catch up.
Do you have a suggestion for a future profile? Feel free to leave your picks in the comments.
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