Combe_CV.PDF

Over the past decade, I’ve engaged in an art practice investigating the cultural contexts around mark and meaning making, both on the canvas and in the classroom. I’m interested in interrogating systems: order and disorder, democracy, and universal assumptions around aesthetics. This investigation often begins with compartmentalizing – a thinking skill based on sorting and classifying. Compartmentalizing, so opposite to the divergent classroom model of today, is an essential process needed for developing meaning.

I organize imagery in an attempt to illustrate a form of order, which is created through this process of classification and compartmentalization. This process of sorting and classifying is how we make sense of our environments, beginning with recognizing patterns of black and white mobiles in the crib, acquiring language, and assigning attributes to blocks on the kindergarten floor. As adults, we create order to meet personal and societal needs, be it for greed or social equity. The order we create and categories we develop can be destructive or productive in our personal lives, communities, and world. I invite the viewer, when looking at imagery, to remain aware of the formation of patterns, categories, and to reflect on their origins. My hope is that they bring a sense of tranquil play and completeness amidst the raw imperfections of each piece, encouraging fluency between authored, culturally constructed binaries. My hope is that the viewer will interrogate the “opposites,” and see the continuum binaries present.

Teaching in public schools has been of primary importance to my practice, as it allows for an interactive format to deconstruct the visual and linguistic imagery in our culture; the water in which we swim. With these classroom experiences we engage in image making and in questioning the visual culture we live, both collectively and individually. It feeds my work, and in turn, my work feeds my teaching.

In 2009 I earned a Master in Fine Art from The Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpellier, VT. From The Evergreen State College I earned both a Master in Teaching with a focus on art education in 1997, and in 1995, a Bachelor of Arts focused on anti-bias education, cultural studies, and art. My teaching experience ranges from thirteen years of K – 12 instruction in both alternative and traditional public schools and university instruction at The University of Montana. My visual work has been exhibited in a range of venues, including galleries, homes, state buildings, restaurants, book stores, LGBTQ festivals, and colleges in Portland, Seattle, Olympia, Montpelier, VT, Salt Lake City, and Missoula, MT.
I am currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Montana where I teach foundations and art education.