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Q&A with artist Damian Stamer

Damian Staemer
Arts Q&A
At his gallery at the Hanes Art Center
Damian Staemer Arts Q&A At his gallery at the Hanes Art Center

As part of the UNC art department’s Master of Fine Arts exhibition series, “Your Turn to Burn,” graduate student Damian Stamer’s paintings are on display this week in Hanes Art Center.

Staff writer Elizabeth Baker spoke with Stamer about his show — the inspiration behind it, the process of creating it and what he hopes people will take away from it.

Daily Tar Heel: What is the inspiration behind the show?

Damian Stamer: I’m showing landscape paintings inspired by the places I used to explore as a child growing up — not very far from here, actually.

I’m taking barns, fields and the sky — places from my history — and putting them on panel. I’m kind of mashing them together with the history of painting.

DTH: What was the process of creating your show like?

DS: This show is a great time to bring everything together through the program.

It’s a nice moment to see where I’ve come through all of the guidance, mentorship and working with fellow students and professors. It’s a time to see how the work has changed in the past two years.

To get ready for it, I pulled together some of my most recent work that I’m happy with and that I think pushes the form in a new direction.

DTH: What does it mean for you to have a solo show?

DS: In the past — and we will do it this year — there’s a group show at the Ackland. That’s an interesting time to see how all of the different work plays off of each other and the conversations that can happen then.

The solo show is nice because you can frame your work how you want to. You are in total control of how it’s seen. The great thing about this series is everyone is very different, and the show is changing every week.

DTH: What can a viewer expect from the show?

DS: I want a viewer to actually be transported.

I like a painting with landscape where I can go and get lost in this different world that takes me out of where I am. I hope viewers come in and spend a lot of time and find themselves getting lost in these spaces I’ve created.

DTH: What do you want viewers to feel when leaving your show?

DS: I don’t necessarily want them to leave with specific emotions.

I want the works to be open-ended in the fact that everyone can take away something different. There’s not one certain thing I really want someone to take away, but I guess I’d like them to like the paintings.

DTH: What makes your show unique?

DS: Something unique about the work is that it’s landscape, and it’s playing with and utilizing the history of landscape and photography — but I’m infusing abstraction and a personal mark-making I’ve been developing.

It’s a twist on this traditional form, and I think that makes it unique.

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DTH: Looking back at the finished product, what are you most proud of?

DS: I think I’m most proud of the cohesion of the body of work. (The pieces) are similar, but there’s still this variety.

They are really playing off of each other. It’s a very tight and cohesive body of work that works as a culmination of a great two years here.

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