In Domestic Reliquary I use appropriated imagery and iconography to explore my own dark family narrative. A complicated relationship with my parents, and an immersive, cult-like experience with an evangelical Christian church resulted in my loss of spiritual and domestic faith. My work relates specifically to these personal struggles and explores the quiet suffering that occurs within a family unit living under the auspices of a flawed American dream.

Instances of substance abuse, suicide and domestic violence have reoccurred in the last three generations of my immediate family. Domestic Reliquary examines these tragedies and addresses issues related to gender and the premature loss of innocence. The history of my clan seems to repeat itself, so I use found photographs from several generations to explore the cyclical nature of domestic trauma. I use the salted paper process to reproduce these images, embracing the imperfections of this technique to simultaneously deconstruct and repair the image. By reprinting, painting, damaging, and healing the surface of these prints, I intervene, and explore the mythology of family. I correlate domestic symbolism to religious symbolism, reinterpreting objects and icons to create my own sacred visual vocabulary.

Daniel W. Coburn lives and works in Lawrence, Kansas. His work and research investigates the family photo album employed as a visual infrastructure for a flawed American Dream. Selections from his body of work have been featured in exhibitions at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art and the Chelsea Museum of Art in New York. Coburn’s prints are held in collections at the Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago), the University of New Mexico Art Museum, the Mulvane Museum of Art, the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art, and the Mariana Kistler-Beach Museum of Art. He has been invited as a guest lecturer at national and international photography events including the International Festival of Photography in Belo Horizonte, Brazil and the Helsinki Photo-Media Conference. Coburn received his BFA with an emphasis in photography from Washburn University. He received his MFA with distinction from the University of New Mexico in 2013. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Photo Media at the University of Kansas.