Cynthia Camlin

September 3 - 26, 2015

Opening Reception: 5 - 8pm
First Thursday, September 3, 2015

Rooted in a critical approach to landscape, Cynthia Camlin’s paintings respond to geological and environmental change: glaciers cracking and calving, crustal plates converging and diverging, human systems under pressure, breaking rather than bending. In Waterland, Camlin presents three composite paintings completed in 2015.

Water Fragment continues a series of paintings with the motif of a cracking ice shelf that crowds a disjointed picture plane. Into the structure of the grid-like form interject abrupt moments of instability, of dislocation. Beneath the structures transparent watercolor brings depth and fluidity.

In Island of Ought and Naught, the subject is a tiny island off the coast of Iceland, a hunk of pink granite out in the ocean, a place where the last great auk was captured and killed, to be sold to a collector. The author Elizabeth Kolbert compares this island, in The Sixth Extinction, to “the base of an enormous column, or like a giant pedestal waiting for an even more giant statue”. Camlin’s composite painting joins together self-contained small abstract paintings to form a fortress-like island, a monument to absence.

In Enez Glas, the cobbled forms of islands erode and dissolve in an expansive pictorial space of watery floodplain. Informed by walks on Fir Island in the Skagit river delta, the scene is one of water reclaiming land in a fragile, shifting environment.

Cynthia Camlin’s recent work explores environmental and geological change through abstracted forms. Her work was featured in New American Painting in 2013 and the New American Painting Blog in 2014. Recent exhibitions include the traveling exhibition, "Vanishing Ice," organized by the Whatcom Museum, the traveling exhibition, “Critical Messages,” organized by the Hallie Ford Museum and Western Gallery, and exhibitions at Punch Gallery and SOIL Gallery in Seattle. Her work is in several collections, including the Microsoft Art Collection, the King County Public Art Collection and Peninsula College Public Art Collection. Camlin received an MFA at the University of Texas at Austin, a BA from Duke University, an MA from the University of Virginia, and attended Yale University as a post-baccalaureate student. She is an associate professor of painting and drawing at Western Washington University.


Noon-5pm Thurs-Sat,
or by appointment.

Next Exhibition:

Brad Winchester

(more info)


Cynthia Camlin
Island of Ought and Naught (detail)
2015, watercolor on paper mounted on panels, 54" x 74"