MEET THE ARTIST: DAMON CAMPAGNA

Two of Damon Campagna’s works now sit in the showroom of Beacon Gallery. Standing out amongst the other works, Campagna’s works are a non-traditional introduction or reminder to the unbounded definition of art, expression, and – in line with the exhibition’s message – the wide range of “codes” and meanings embedded in different artists’ creations.

Damon Campagna is an MFA 2D graduate of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. A painter and printmaker from Rhode Island, his practice is informed by his experience working in the museum field, specifically documenting 9/11 World Trade Center-related artifacts for the New York City Fire Department. This experience has intensely shaped and continues to affect the artist’s current practice, which involves the analysis, logging, and curation of self through ‘markmaking’, as well as discovering the ramifications of that pursuit. The possibility that we may “form self-image and examine our existence through a self-curated collection of our creations” is fascinating to Campagna. Campagna also seeks to bridge the gap between printmaking and immersive installation in much of his work, just as he does in the gallery’s current show, ‘Coded‘.

We learn from Campagna, himself, what ‘markmaking’ is all about, and gain insight to his artistic experience in line with what these central themes mean to him, specifically:

“I consider markmaking one of the unique identifiers of the self, in the same sense as the heartbeat, blood pressure, glucose level, or running gait. We use modern fitness tracking tools to document our existence. Accordingly, if the mark could be reduced to metadata and recorded and studied, and in the process stripped of context, what would this reveal? Would this analysis of one’s markmaking enable one to establish any deeper, ontological “meaning” behind one’s art? Can “self” be distilled to mere statistics?

My work is informed by my time working in the museum field, specifically documenting 9/11 World Trade Center-related artifacts for the New York City Fire Department. This experience shapes and affects my practice, which involves the analysis, logging, and methodical collection of self through markmaking, presenting the possibility that we may form self-image and examine our existence through a self-curated collection of our creations. Each print or painting I produce is a wholly realized entity but simultaneously serves as an artifact of study. 

I continually explore methods of bridging 2D media, like printmaking, to installation. Collection reports for each piece containing a description are captured in minute detail, typed in duplicate, and stored in binders for future study. This information is presented with the piece for review or incorporated in larger environments involving video and projection. As this metaphysical data of self is extracted through the acts of production, documentation, and archiving, I challenge the viewer to ponder the consequences of collecting and analyzing one’s work in an obsessive pursuit of the unknowable.”

Damon Campagna, ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY-ONE MARKS OVER TWO DARK FIELDS IN A SQUARE (INDEXED)

“My work asks a lot of questions regarding a “code” that might run through one’s work. Nowadays we use digital fitness tracking devices to document our existence, breaking it down into discrete units of information, right? So, let’s say we consider markmaking one of the unique identifiers of the self, in the same sense as the heartbeat, blood pressure, running gait, glucose level, et cetera.

I’m asking: if the mark could be stripped of context as well — and reduced to metadata to be recorded and studied — what would this reveal? Would this analysis of one’s markmaking enable one to establish any deeper, ontological “meaning” behind one’s art? Is it possible for the “self” to be distilled to mere statistics? Can the information embedded in the artist’s mark alone be used to decode some profound meaning? I can’t present answers to those questions, but I do challenge the viewer to consider the possibilities.”

We want to thank Damon for taking the time to guide us in exploring and better understanding his compelling work. His works, along with those of twelve other artists’, are currently on display at the gallery through September 26th.

Campagna now works from his studio in Narragansett, RI and can be found at his website, http://www.damoncampagna.com or on instagram: @discodamon

For all other inquiries or to reach the gallery directly, please send us a message at contact@beacongallery.com

Leave a Reply