YVONNE ROBERT & DAMIAN STAMER | DOUBLES
Damian Stamer is a painter based in Durham, NC. He has shown his work all over the world but maintains the focus of his subject matter on abstracted rural landscapes from the Carolinas. In “Doubles”, Stamer continues his exploration of his surroundings and how he can abstract and distort the ideas of home and place.
“Through the act of painting, I try to better understand myself and make sense of our world. This body of work charts my relationship with home—the landscape of my youth in the Carolinas. And like many relationships, it’s complicated, messy, and filled with love, shame, joy, pain, and ultimately hope. Old dilapidated barns continue to fascinate me because they embody the passage of time, the reality that everything is constantly changing. These ruins are, like us, soaked with impermanence. We cannot escape a similar fate. But with each moment of decay arises a new possibility for growth—the potential to create change in the place we call home. “ –Damian Stamer
Yvonne Robert approaches her canvas with the idea of minimizing the object to nothing and maximizing the emotional relationship by use of color. Based in Zurich, Switzerland, Robert is represented by galleries in London, Paris, New York and Sydney. In her contribution to “Doubles”, Robert finds a balance of peace and intensity. She is interested to pulling emotions out of her viewers with bold and confident brushstrokes.
“I’d like my paintings to have a strong presence, they should fascinate the viewer, convey a feeling. I’m always looking for compositions and colors that create tension with maximum reduction. The challenge is to produce a reduced picture without it seeming ordinary.” –Yvonne Robert
Damian Stamer’s work explores the complicated history of the American South by examining architectural remnants of the power structures that simultaneously enabled both vast wealth creation and oppression of human rights. Searching for what too often remains unspoken and unseen, he interrogates personal and collective memories of the places he calls home.
“I paint places close to home, barns and abandoned buildings. As adolescents, my twin brother and I rummaged through rooms filled with secrets, inspecting forgotten objects in search of hidden treasures. Adrenaline of exploration often mixed with the fear of being discovered.
“I am undoubtedly comforted by this landscape, and despite my many positive memories, these ruins also represent a past and present I too often did not see. The industries that brought picturesque curing barns and incredible wealth to a small segment of society were built upon enslavement, oppression, and denial of human rights. Too many of these transgressions persist to this day, as well as the power structures that enabled them. I am troubled by an old barn’s history, yet I find beauty within it. Time is visible here. Quiet moments near the sublime when afternoon light rakes the grain of a fallen beam, or cloud-like stuffing erupts from a rotten chair. Violent and tender, this beauty hinges on the delicate nature of existence. These remnants are, like us, soaked with impermanence. We cannot escape a similar fate.
Stamer depicts these icons of the American South not to monumentalize, but rather to question the identities embedded and reflected within them. Nostalgia, sentimentality, naiveté, violence, loss, guilt, fragility, and complicity coexist, and can prove difficult to reconcile. What else can we still not see?
Damian Stamer (b. 1982, Durham, NC) received his Master of Fine Arts from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a Jacob K. Javits fellow in 2013 and his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Herberger Institute of Art and Design and Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University as a National Merit scholar in 2007. He also studied at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts as a Fulbright grantee, and the State Academy of Art and Design in Stuttgart, Germany as a Rotary Ambassadorial scholar. The artist lives and works in Durham, North Carolina.
The often bright and gestural paintings of Yvonne Robert result from an intuitive approach to color and composition. Her spontaneity of conception and dynamic gesture is void of complex references and their associated meanings. Instead she is steadfast in her commitment to universal concepts of form, mass, proportion, rhythm and structure, which constitute a common thread in her work. Above all, she is motivated by color, and her use of it is practiced and studied.
Art, other artists and her environment are all constant sources of inspiration. Robert grew up in a family of artists and found home-life aesthetically stimulating and informative. She remembers her parents often discussing the notions of color and form, and she was fascinated by the patterns and motifs of the 1960’s that filled her home.
These early influences perhaps motivated Robert to pursue a career initially in graphic design and subsequently in fine art, the origins of which certain motifs in her current work could possibly be traced. Importantly, however, when Robert observes her environment, she perceives color first and foremost – a person’s hair in combination with the color of their skin and their scarf, an old bike that someone has painted in a creamy light grey with a new brown leather seat; sheep in the pastures, the lake, the sky, the mountains; how different the shades of blue are that interplay with each other in the sky, and how endless the combinations seem.
Yvonne Robert, born1972, grew up in Germany and has now lived in Zurich for several years.
She has exhibited internationally in New York, Valencia, Madrid, Barcelona, London, Paris, Berlin and Zurich. Her work is held in private collections in the US, Spain, UK, France, Austria, Germany and Switzerland.