BK Studio Visit with Damian Stamer
Damian Stamer is an artist I have always admired, though it is not easy for me to articulate why I am drawn to his work, besides the obvious that he is a very gifted painter and colorist who at a very young age has mastered his technical skill and has experimented with several styles and is finally coming into his own and creating a unique Damian elegance. Damian is not your typical artist, he doesn’t wear things to stand out and judging him on looks, you would assume he works an average job. He is incredibly humble and his muted intelligence and intuition takes you by complete surprise. Having spent a year in Germany and a year in Hungary, it is amazing to see the evolution of his painting and how all his experiences have embedded themselves into this work, especially after two years of living in New York and being surrounded by the center of the US art world. His Williamsburg studio is filled with light pouring in from the windows as well as the energy that can of the BQE that can be viewed from these windows.
His paintings take hold of you and are hidden with meaning, the viewer discovers new elements at every, subtle turn. This hide-and-seek effect stems from the painting process. He enjoys adding images and then painting over them, so that only fragments of the original object/identity remain. Damian seeks to create a similar effect of layered billboards when the old posters are peeling away, a way of documenting time. I found myself looking and looking again at his paintings and as someone I have known for a while now, I still have the same reaction when I look at his paintings as I did the first time I saw them and when a new work in unveiled, even if it is not “finished”, I am speechless and find myself looking at the work for hours, revisiting different components and trying to dissect the canvas that truly seems alive. Stamer is able to capture movement, dynamism, ocean, still life, and landscapes (most widely used in his most recent works) and has clearly been influenced by Gerhard Richter, Neo Rauch, among many other East German artists, specifically of the Leipzig School. Damian often deals with the subject of twins and doubles since he has a twin brother who he is extremely close to and lives with, though they are very alike in some ways, Damian is a painter and Dylan is an investment banker, so Damian thinks about their relationship and the science behind being a twin and it often finds its way into his work.
His most current paintings deal with the juxtaposition of seemingly disparate elements and painting techniques. In attempts to marry pastoral landscape with both abstracted and non-objective forms, he constructs a new space, unique to the medium of painting. In addition to providing an opportunity for more realistic rendering, the landscapes push the depth of the painting, and therefore give the abstracted forms more space to inhabit.
Damian’s current process involves a great deal of trial and error, as he is letting the painting work itself out on the canvas. Compositional thumbnail sketches are used only in the most initial phases of the painting, afterward he tries to allow the uncontrollable drips and more freely painted marks to inform his next moves or aesthetic decisions. The end results are paintings that create almost dream-like worlds where dichotomous elements can live together and explore the painted spaces of their own creation.
However abstracted, there exists a visual world in which someone or something could live. Instead of a house on a flattened picture plane, the house rests in an environment. Even the stroke of color or geometric forms are applied in such a way as one can imagine moving around them. The abstraction is grounded by the physical laws of the natural world, and therefore lends itself to the possibility that someone has navigated these unexplained surroundings.
After leaving the studio, Damian was headed to North Carolina and Europe for the next month in hopes of travel, inspiration, adventure and completing his next series.
– MARLY HAMMER