Cameron Schmitz: Movement, Perception & Mark Making
I grew up in southern Connecticut within a creative family and spent much of my time drawing and observing my mother's colorist paintings on the walls of our home. Responding to my physical surroundings and the visual world became fundamental to my life at an early age.
I received my BFA in painting and drawing from the University of New Hampshire, and also studied at Studio Art Centers International in Florence, Italy. I went on to earn my MFA in painting from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and then moved to Vermont for an artist residency at the Vermont Studio Center in the fall of 2006. I found Vermont's rugged beauty uniquely inspirational, and I also found my now-husband here, too.
Since 2007 I have exhibited my work throughout New England and beyond. In 2008 it was featured at Fitchburg Art Museum's Biannual Exhibition "New England/New Talent." I have been curated into group exhibitions at Kyoto Seika University in Japan, Emory University, Northern Arizona University Art Museum, and Rogue Space Chelsea in New York. My exhibit "Marks of Passage" is showing at the Jackson Gallery in Middlebury through November 6.
In addition to my artmaking practice, for the past seven years I also have been invested in Art Education, teaching Studio Art at high school and post-secondary levels.
In addition to utilizing a variety of media that includes painting, drawing, photography, and printmaking, my work often negotiates between the landscape, figurative work, and interiors. All of these subjects inform each other and together illustrate how I am interested in the concepts of absence vs. presence, movement vs. stasis, and ephemeral qualities of visual perception and memory.
The paths that I take in my art reflect both my desire and appreciation for growth, inquiry, and change. I have come to understand that we ... are forever moving and evolving mentally, emotionally, physiologically, and even physically. As we move, we exude and expend energy while simultaneously receiving the energy from others and our environments. When I walk through the forest or along the quiet road, I see that these places possess a life and set of energies that are shared. It is within this time of quiet that I hear the whispers and hush of leaves and watch the branches outstretch their limbs to hold the hands of other trees. The supple soil that that quiets my steps, and the canopy of trees reaching to connect, provide me with feelings of both solitude and kinship.
I interpret the energy and spirit emanating from these places that I visit and take refuge in and merge them with my own personal response and visual perception in order to create an image that embodies a sense of place and often changing of time. This translates into paintings and drawings that illustrate my interest in mark making, repetition, and the contradictions of movement and stasis. Allowing each individual work to organically drive and dictate my use of marks made on the surface gives me the ability to discover a meaningful dialogue with each of my subjects and a distilled orchestration of movement, rhythm, and color found within nature and within our everyday lives.
ABOUT THE "MOVING STILL" PHOTOGRAPHS
As much as these are photographs, these images are also a direct extension of my painting. As I focus my camera lens on the residual dust, grit, water marks, and textures left behind on my car window or windshield, I approach each image with a painterly aesthetic by slightly abstracting elements and formal characteristics found within each frame. As I push landscape and form down to its most essential parts, I celebrate the formal elements of color, shape, and composition, and relish in rich and muted color fields given to me by chance.
I am not interested in totally manipulating my images here, but rather in playing a little cat and mouse, and accepting my lack of control of the fleeting, to finally arrive at a place of beautiful arrest. Through this, I am intrigued by the idea of seeing from the periphery and capturing a sense of stillness while I continue to move forward and remain in transition.
HOW I ENDED UP IN BRATTLEBORO
I moved here with my husband Jonathan this past August after four years in Vergennes. We enjoyed the community there and its proximity to Burlington and Middlebury, but I was on the road quite a bit for setting up exhibits and delivering my work to buyers, and realistically couldn't justify visiting museum exhibitions in New York or Boston on a regular basis.
When my husband graduated with his Master's in Education from UVM last spring, we searched for a town where we could be part of a close-knit community active in the arts, progressive in education, rich in culture, steeped in spirit, and with a strong connection to food and farms -- and to be closer to cities like Boston and New York to foster my professional connections. The answer became clear that this place was Brattleboro, and when Jonathan's first job posting, interview, and offer was for the position of Special Educator at Oak Grove Elementary School, we knew it was meant to be. We love our new home in Brattleboro!
Visit Cameron online at www.cameronschmitz.com to learn more about her, see more of her art, and find out where her work is being exhibited.
See a December 2010 review at: www.7dvt.com/2010out-sight.
Copyright 2011, Gallery Walk, Brattleboro, Vermont