Katrina Coombs was born in Kingston, Jamaica. She holds a BFA with Honours in Textiles and Fibre Arts (2008) and a Certificate in Curatorial Studies (2009) from the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. In 2013, Coombs obtained an MFA in Creative Practice from the Transart Institute via University of Plymouth. Coombs has a passion for fiber and an understanding of the sensitivity of threads and fabric which has grown beyond design and into sculptural forms. Her practice focuses on the impact of the Other on the “I”, through various psychoanalytical theory and the quintessence of gender politics of the Other. Coombs’s work has been featured in “Voyaging Towards the Future: Living Sculpture III” 2018 at the CAG[e] Gallery, Jamaica; “3 Generations of Textile and Fibre Arts” 2017 at the Grosvenor Gallery, Jamaica; “Dimensions of Womanhood” at the 2016 Kingston on the Edge (KOTE) Urban Arts Festival; “Young Talent 2015” at the National Gallery of Jamaica; “Re-Frame” at Manila 2016 London Biennale Pollination, Phillippines; and has shown in the Jamaica Biennial in 2014 and 2017 at the National Gallery of Jamaica. Coombs is also one of the co-founders of a new art initiative which was developed to re-energize the Jamaican art scene through exhibitions, residencies, artist career planning and development. Coombs lives and works in St. Andrew, Jamaica.
My work is governed and guided by my emotions, as I attempt to understand and search for the role and positions of a woman. Through the use of fibrous material, my works explore the impact and intrusion of the ‘Other’ on the ‘I’; the ‘Other’ in representation of either an external or internal being to the self. The works emphasizes the social insecurities and turmoil that a woman faces as she struggles and becomes displaced by her daily life in an attempt to satisfy herself, partner, family, friends and life on a whole, which all create an enterprise for conflict. The ‘I’ becomes absent as the Other prevails and creates a structure and void of neurotic divergence within.
The current direction of my work has explored the social impositions placed on the female body, with regards to the female reproductive systems and the womb in particular. The roles played within the various stages of the female reproductive cycle are continuously critiqued, sometimes to the point of an analysis of its presence or absence, due in part to perceptions of whether the reproductive roles are being played or not. Such impositions results in the dissection of the body, both physically and psychologically. Women see the womb as an Other, a regulator of relationships with the Other.
In attempting to understand the self in relation to the Other, it becomes an enterprise in conflict. My artwork manifests such emotional conflicts, especially given that the level of impact of the Other, guides the direction of the artworks produced; and perhaps, make the works autobiographical and confessional. Peculiarities define the relationships between the I and Other(s) and presence play an important role in such situations. The presence of the other verses the absence gives meaning to the notion of being. Presence and absence may explicitly rely upon the states in which it is found and it is this state that is expressed.