Camila Labarca Linaweaver

Infinite Space That Lies Ahead
15×11 monotype on paper, 2017


My printmaking work depicts themes of immigrant displacement through representations of the landscape. My prints question the use of land, and humans unwavering search for a better life. I immigrated across the U.S./Mexico border as a child, and the effects of that journey created lasting psychological and physical dualities. Time has distorted my perceptions of that experience, yet even as a child I was aware of the social, political, and cultural implications of the event. A recent return to the U.S./Mexico border reframed the significance of the landscape as a means to address migrations and border issues. The landscape itself is used as a barrier, and rivers and mountains function as natural deterrents that delay and prevent illegal entries (often resulting in death). Areas of high border crossings are devoid of people, but items left by migrants on their treacherous pass are scattered throughout. My prints depict memories of charted landscapes and allude to the border’s subtle presence of people, yet remain devoid of figurative representation. Borderwalls, barriers and fences physically scar the land while the use of stark bright colors suggests a vivid, disorienting awareness. The resulting narratives are a unique juxtaposition of past and present; real and imagined.

My process relies on the unique aesthetic qualities of printmaking, particularly explorations of the singular print. The foundation of printmaking lies in an original matrix which holds a memory. However, there is something innately disintegrative about the process. Each print renders the matrix more and more vague and the prints become remnants of the original. Within this conceptual framework, I find it intriguing to use a medium made for multiplicity to produce a singular print. This offers an element of spontaneity, and a means to extract the essence of a moment that can never be recreated. Unique impressions, like monotypes and mono-prints, allow me to navigate freely through recollections without committing to a concrete matrix. I layer and alter prints repeatedly to pull the image as far away from its point of origin as possible. By exhausting these possibilities, the process itself questions my perceptions of time, space, and memory.