Shawn Camp - Dualities of Existence

Episode 46 · October 12th, 2018 · 1 hr 4 mins

About this Episode

"A single object can be these extremely different things depending on the context. When the lights are bright in the gallery a whole bunch of what that painting is becomes completely obscured, it’s not even present at all or barely visible or not even there. And when the lights cycle off it's the same thing, there’s a whole bunch of that painting that’s not there at all, but all those things that were hidden before are now visible. I like that back and forth and that feeling of transformation. And the painting itself being a static object but existing as a time based thing.“

The dualities of our existence are many, life and death being one of the most prominent. And we are often searching for rational patterns and order in our experience. Art can sometimes greatly change our subjective view and that can be very intentional on the part of the artist. Shawn Camp has pushed himself for decades to use painting, sound, video, and his teaching skills to explore these varied ideas and many others, to facilitate going deeper than just surface layers. And he draws on his studies in Philosophy and Psychology, in addition to teaching Art, to enhance his concepts and motivations and to stay inspired.

His work has transitioned over the years from thick landscapes of impasto to subtle and ethereal geometric planes sometimes juxtaposed and merged with backlit atmospheric murals. The context and presentation of his work is often crucial to the experience and understanding of it. Lights cycle on an off like day and night, to reveal the dichotomy of his work which can include aspects of video and sound to create an immersive curated reality.

I’ve known Shawn for years and he is the nicest guy. And so very humble. His job as a teacher thankfully allows for untethered freedom in the studio where he experiments and crafts work that is gorgeous beyond belief. See his work in person if you can. You wont regret it.

Some of the subjects we discuss:

Growing up/school
Early painting style
Grad school
Influence of landscape
Contentious mentor
Evolution of work
Backlit concept
The battle
Roadtrip analogy
The good & bad
Making a living from art
Creativity as a skill
My heaven and hell
Fish Factory residency
Works on paper
Shaped pieces
Iceland landscape

Equivocation (installation view), 2018, backlit oil painting

Shawn Camp’s EQUIVOCATION is an installation consisting of a wall painting, a video, a loop of sound, and a large back-lit painting in a room with subtly shifting light. The experience is a mediation on the cyclical nature of being and an abstraction of the way we perceive time and space.

1900-B East 12th Street
Austin, Texas 78702

12th on 12th Happy Hour
Friday, October 12, 5–7pm

Final Visiting Hours
Saturday, October 13, 3–6:30pm

Shawn Camp Artist Talk
Saturday, October 13, 4:30pm

Across the Window - Acrylic on paper / 9 x 13 in.

SHAWN CAMP / My heaven and hell are the same

October 20–November 18, 2018
Reception: Saturday, October 20, 5-8 pm

Gallery Shoal Creek
2832 E. MLK Jr. Blvd. / Suite 3 / Austin,Texas 78702
512-454-6671 /
Tue-Fri 10-5; Sat 12-5

Text below courtesy of Gallery Shoal Creek

"Having recently returned from an artist residency at the creative center in Stöðvarfjörður, Iceland, Shawn Camp presents new work influenced by the rugged terrain, glacial ice, and volcanic ferocity of the sub-arctic island nation. The experience took him in a new direction with a series of works on paper which reflect his ongoing interest in linear forms, geometric references, and reflective surfaces.

In response to the tumultuous interaction of landscape and sky, the paintings slow to a stand-still. At times dark and atmospheric, the imagery resonates a quiet ambiguity through reflective surfaces and delicate transitions of color. Linear forms are cut like broken panes of geometry through deep recesses of space, hinting at the changing states of matter formed by geological forces within the earth.

These new works investigate dualities and exploit the effects of context on our perception. They convey a sense of atmosphere and explore the mystery of light and our subjective experience of the constantly changing visual world. Through the use of refractive pigments, glazed and sanded repeatedly atop smooth, mirror-like panels, the experience of color and shape becomes elusive and indefinable."

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Intro music generously provided by Stan Killian

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