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Fan Mail: Kristin Cammermeyer

Kristin Cammermeyer’s works are tributes to becoming. They render a sense that completion is an arbitrary concept, that anything that ends has more to do with one’s perspective than its inherent finitude. Her installations are constantly in flux, resulting either from her construction and deconstruction of the spaces they inhabit or from the multimedia videos that become both artifacts of the physical pieces and digital worlds all their own. Cammermeyer intertwines time and materiality to ask viewers to consider iterations of a space as an environment for a body and as a psychological and emotional landscape.

Kristin Cammermeyer. Elephant Art Space, 2016; site-specific mixed-media installation at Elephant Art Space, Glassell Park, CA; dimensions variable. Courtesy of the Artist.

Kristin Cammermeyer. Elephant Art Space, 2016; site-specific mixed-media installation at Elephant Art Space, Glassell Park, CA. Courtesy of the Artist.

Many of Cammermeyer’s pieces involve found materials, placed in conversation within their installation sites, which she then documents or records to create accompanying videos. These video pieces extend her invented spaces and allow her to explore the conceptual effects of building and dismantling within a short time frame, collapsing and expanding the assemblage visually and aurally to consider the boundaries of structure and enclosure. At what point does something change from a building to a landscape to an ecology?

Kristin Cammermeyer. 40 days in 8332 scenes (generating a psychic ecology with available means), 2016; stop-motion animation; 4:38; sound design by Michael Dillon. Courtesy of the Artist.

In the work 40 Days in 8332 Scenes (Generating a Psychic Ecology with Available Means) (2016), Cammermeyer uses stop-motion animation, shifting one’s sense of perspective with each added layer. The work’s kaleidoscopic symmetries convey affective associations—the gothic, science fiction, the natural world—that pull a viewer through an experience of psychic travel. The video begins with a view of the wall of the gallery, Elephant Art Space, in which Cammermeyer built the initial installation, and defines the viewer’s physical context. Then, emerging from the center of the screen, are a string of images: dark, delicate, almost Edwardian filigrees. From this first column, objects gyrate, whirr, and flash like strobes across the screen; the shifting light evokes passing days and nights, bird songs and animal calls evoke the outdoors. The image seems to breathe and grow, taking a viewer far beyond the immediate surroundings. From the edges of the video frame, feathery green ferns bloom and mix with industrial grating. Soon this chaotic, moving mandala acquires a deep-green hue and the shape of soft fractals. The video seems to have gone beyond the frame of the monitor, beyond physical space.

Kristin Cammermeyer. Accumulation at 12th & Marion, 2015; site-specific mixed-media installation produced for stop-motion video at Hedreen Gallery, Seattle University; dimensions variable. Courtesy of the Artist.

Kristin Cammermeyer. Accumulation at 12th & Marion, 2015; site-specific mixed-media installation produced for stop-motion video at Hedreen Gallery, Seattle University. Courtesy of the Artist.

What Cammermeyer achieves with this developing expansion is a continuum of spatial experience past distinct borders. By blurring spatial edges, she also blurs their meanings and links them, insisting on mutual responsibility; a “psychic ecology” is rooted in the industrial, the natural, and the inchoate. Even the most abstract of spatial concepts has ties to the material. The linkages in the videos are reiterated in the installations, through which Cammermeyer responds to the physical spaces she is given. Such recursive gestures rely on the interconnection between a viewer’s physical body and one’s meta- and paraphysical experiences.

Kristin Cammermeyer. Accumulation at 12th & Marion, 2015 (detail); site-specific mixed-media installation produced for stop-motion video at Hedreen Gallery, Seattle University; dimensions variable. Courtesy of the Artist.

Kristin Cammermeyer. Accumulation at 12th & Marion, 2015 (detail); site-specific mixed-media installation produced for stop-motion video at Hedreen Gallery, Seattle University. Courtesy of the Artist.

Simply put, Cammermeyer’s work reveals ways in which we inhabit both real and imagined spaces. The intense piling of visual activity in her videos is a response to the slow, tangible changes she makes to her installations. Her videos and installations refer to and reflect one another, creating a jarring sense of combined embodiment and abstraction. A viewer not only is in the space, in the installation, but also is projected within a video of that very space as it develops into somewhere else altogether. While Cammermeyer splits one’s perspective through spatial and temporal disconnections, she insists that a viewer be able to occupy multiple subject positions at once. This flexibility demands sensitivity to a dialectic of dichotomous relationships: foreground and background, construction and deconstruction, structure and its abstraction. The artist’s continual reassertion of process and impermanence becomes a meditation on finitude and asks what might be gained by accepting paradox and perpetual motion as innate conditions of existence.

Kristin Cammermeyer. Double How: In and Out of the Back Room, 2013; site-specific mixed-media installation at Recology SF, San Francisco, CA; dimensions variable. Courtesy of the Artist.

Kristin Cammermeyer. Double How: In and Out of the Back Room, 2013; site-specific mixed-media installation at Recology SF, San Francisco, CA. Courtesy of the Artist.

Kristin Cammermeyer is a multimedia artist based in Los Angeles. She received an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Kristin has received grants from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Harpo Foundation, and the Toby Fund. She attended residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Recology SF, and Vermont Studio Center. Her work has been published in New American Paintings and Hazlitt Print. Prominent exhibitions include the Broad Art Museum, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Hedreen Gallery, Klowden Mann Gallery, Machine Projects, and Elephant Art Space. Her work is in the Broad Foundation, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Recology SF, and the Los Angeles Contemporary Archive collections. She will be participating in the I-Park Site Responsive Biennale in East Haddam, Connecticut (May 15–June 4, 2017). In 2018, she will have a solo show at 1708 Gallery in Richmond, VA. She can be found on Instagram: @kcammermeyer.

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