TIME, TEXTILE AND MEMORY are intertwining influences throughout Huber’s
practice. She does not shy away from the vulnerability of human intimacy.
In a piece titled “Momma Told Me Not to Come,” Huber lays three genera-tions
of her family’s lingerie on top of textiles resembling a bedspread or
quilt, the same size and shape of a double bed.
“The pieces are splayed out like skin, because that is how we wear it,” she says.
This composition recalls the pattern and domestic ethos of a quilt, as the undergarments
blend deceptively with the other fabric. By displaying items worn privately even when in pub-lic,
Huber juxtaposes female sexuality with feminine domesticity, highlighting the contrasting
public and private ways in which women’s lives are categorized and defined. This gesture has
the interesting effect of both increasing and reducing the private quality of the garments.
Huber says that her fascination with time and textiles arose in her youth, when she spent
a substantial amount of time on the road with her family’s European-style circus. In part, this
was influenced by her active participation in creating costumes, beginning in early childhood.
But she has always thought of herself as an artist, part of an entire family of artists.
As a part-time nomad, Huber developed an intense appreciation for both water and books
— things hard to come by on the road.
Known for her skill in creating handmade paper through a variety of difficult and innovative
techniques, Huber describes her first attempt at papermaking, plunging her hands into the vat
of water and fibers, as serendipitous.
“I felt so fulfilled every time I put my hands in that wet slurry,” she recalls. “It’s so soothing
Forgotten Histories: Mary Nixon, 42 x 18 x
24 inches, handmade paper, mixed media,
found objects. Cameron Art Museum
WBM october 2017
and meditative, but the reason that it felt like that to
me is because water is such a precious commodity
on the road. All of my work is about water, first and
foremost. The second part is that, being on the road
months out of the year, we couldn’t haul books around
with us or have a library card. So when I’d finally get
one, I’d check out as many books as I could. I’d sleep
with them, open them, and smell them. When I chose
books I’d close my eyes and breathe in. The ones I
picked were always the ones that were handmade. They
have a special aroma. Paper via the book format and
paper itself were, and are, very desirable and attractive
things to me.”
In a sophisticated, mixed-media piece entitled “The
Pink Room,” Huber’s unique life experiences and insight-ful
interest in books and the various ways we record
human culture overlap.
This piece is constructed inside a small pink box
resembling a miniature vanity table, complete with
two drawers and a small square mirror. Inside the
drawers, Huber has added several pieces of delicately
made white paper. These pages feature copied images
adhered by chine-collé — a printing process that allows
different textures and colors of paper to be bonded
together, rather than glued as in collage.
Huber uses the process to fuse idyllic images of
1940s U.S. culture, images from her own unique child-hood
— her “boring circus life” — and poetic explana-tory
text with the freshly made paper. Similar to fresco-
The Pink Room, 15 x 8 x 10 inches, found object, handmade paper, collage. secco painting where pigments are applied to still-wet
PHOTO BY ANNA MARIE KENNEDY PHOTO BY ANNA MARIE KENNEDY