“Lucky Girl,” Deborah Addison Coburn, 2018, charcoal, fabric & buttons on paper mounted on canvas, 14″ x 26″
Coburn’s family story continues a few generations closer to the present with “Lucky Girl,” depicting the artist’s mother, Anne Clemens Addison—born Chana Yitta Klamkova, in Lipno, Poland in 1927. So the artist’s family crossed Jewish immigrant lines: one branch arrived in the New World with the first substantial Ashkenazi migration and another from Eastern Europe. Her mother’s family, however, didn’t arrive with the millions who came to America between 1881 and 1924; born after that immigration door was mostly closed, and coming into childhood with the rise of Nazism, she was indeed a lucky girl—arriving with her parents to Montreal, Canada age 4. She met her future husband on the ski slopes of the Laurentian Mountains west of Montreal; soon after their wedding they moved to the U.S. She worked thereafter as a French teacher in Baltimore County, MD and now lives in Towson, MD. In Coburn’s image, the drawing of her mother presents a little girl all bundled up—we can imagine the context: her new arrival into Canada—with swatches of floral-decorated wallpaper behind her. The earnest stare straight into the viewer’s eyes suggests questions regarding what at that time must have seemed a very uncertain future. She was the lucky girl, though, who, as a refugee from a horror that, at the time she could not have imagined, found a new life that reached new levels of warmth in the cold snowy world of Canada.
Deborah Addison Coburn is a painter, printmaker and collage artist in the Washington, DC area. She received a BFA in painting from Cornell University, where she studied with Friedel Dzubas, Gillian Pederson-Krag and May Stevens. After post-graduate study in painting, graphic design and illustration at the Maryland Institute College of Art, she worked as an advertising art director at agencies in Baltimore, MD and Dallas, TX. Returning to painting, Ms. Coburn studied at the Corcoran School of Art with William Christenberry, Steven Cushner and William Willis. A member of Studio Gallery DC, her work has been exhibited in solo and group shows in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. Ms. Coburn’s work has been included in McLean Project for the Arts’ prestigious juried show Strictly Painting, and she has been a Bethesda Painting Awards finalist. See more of Ms. Coburn’s art at her website www.dacoburn.com as well as www.studiogallerydc.com.