Exhibiting a fabulous new coiffure nearly every week, Eden Collins has enlivened Artpace this summer as the Archives and Communications Graduate Intern.
Hailing from the hinterlands of rural Michigan, Eden came to San Antonio to enroll in UTSA’s MFA program, where she is currently specializing in sculpture. While nurturing a passion for art since childhood – “I’ve always been a maker,” she noted – she also has an interest in mathematics and science. This much more lucrative forte originally led her to pursue veterinary medicine. “It wasn’t until freshman year of college that I really gave myself permission to be an artist again,” Eden said. Along the path to her MFA, she detoured to work at Wells Fargo and Capella University, stops which reminded her that life is short and art is long.
Thus, Eden found her way to Artpace, where, over the past eight weeks, she has fulfilled the dual responsibilities of the Archives and Communications department. For the latter, she has edited video and assisted with website management and social media. With the former, she configured and began uploading Artpace’s extensive archives onto ArchivesSpace, a web-based archives management system, making its contents more accessible.
All the while, Eden has cultivated her own art. She characterized her work as “exploring the construction of self and identity and the different ways that [it] is manifested through your gender, through your age, through all those different little categories that we fit inside.” Her recent exhibition at Clamp Light Artist Studios and Gallery (displayed in a 4 person show from July 14 to July 31) certainly meshed with this paradigm. It combined performance and social media to explore the loneliness of contemporary narcissism. In one example, she posted to Snapchat grotesquely deconstructed collages of coquettish selfies, their dissection and disfigurement rendering them at once laughable and disquieting. The works’ medium of Snapchat further reinforces social media’s role in modern anomie, as well as the ephemerality and volatility of online beauty.
Looking forward, Eden hopes to teach at the collegiate level after completing her MFA. When asked what she would take away from the internship, Eden responded, “Definitely a newfound appreciation for how much work goes into maintaining a residency like this…the need to keep it going, the need to keep supporting it.” She has enjoyed her experience at Artpace immensely, especially privileging the opportunity to interact with the artists-in-residence. “It was really remarkable as an artist to see these established artists making work. It was just very galvanizing and refreshing,” Eden said. Thanks to her efforts this summer, Eden has galvanized and refreshed Artpace.