+ Phebe Washburn
Phoebe Washburn, Nunderwater Nort Lab (detail), 2011. Courtesy of Zach Feuer Gallery.
Photograph of Phebe Washburn in her garden.
Q+A: Phoebe Washburn
How has the artist you chose influenced or inspired you?
My grandmother has always been a big supporter of my creativity. When I was a young child visiting her we would often
work on projects together such as sewing, gardening or baking.
She seemed to have endless energy and was always eager to help me realize anything that I wanted to accomplish. Her frugal, "waste not, want not" approach made an impression on me as well. Her instinct was to always attempt to use what was at hand rather than buy new materials. With this in mind we found ourselves solving unusual problems as we worked together.
More than anything else I have always been inspired by my grandmother's seemingly endless energy. She is always working on several projects at once. And it seems to me that she finds joy from the fact that she is constantly engaged in a variety of these different projects and she feeds off the momentum of moving from one project to another. Over the years I have seen how satisfying this is for her and I aspire to this in my life and studio as well.
And in turn how have you influenced those around you?
I hope that I have been an influence on other artists. I try
to be open about my process, my successes and my failures and I have been told that younger artists find this truthfulness helpful.
How has the audience, if at all, been influential?
My installations are experiential: therefore, it is necessary for me to consider how the viewers will engage with the installation in every aspect.
What does feminism mean to you? Does it influence your
practice or the way you position your work?
I do not think about feminism within the context of my work or my practice. If I were pressed to find some sort of gender reading in my work I would have to say that the work feels as though it were made by an 11-year-old boy with a lot of resources.
Some public figures have said we live in a post-gender
condition, would you agree?
I would not agree that we live in a post-gender time.