Cynthia Camlin, MFA
she, her, hers, Department Chair, Professor
Education: BA, Duke University; MA, The University of Virginia; Post BA, Yale University; MFA, The University of Texas at Austin
Cynthia Camlin is Chair of Art and Art History and Professor of Painting and Drawing at Western Washington University. She also teaches two interdisciplinary courses, “Art and Ecology,” and an international course, “Figure and Symbol”. These courses use research and field experiences as the basis for studio projects.
Camlin’s studio practice in painting and drawing explores environmental change through abstracted forms. A recent series responds to dying coral reef systems. Several earlier bodies of work refer to marine glaciers, presenting architectures of ice undermined by melt and movement. Exploring the coastal wetlands of the American South where she grew up, Cynthia’s current paintings interweave environmental imagery with social and political history.
Lately Camlin has explored environmental art and social practice. A recent collaborative environmental piece, ”Living with Water,” locates an abstract, simulated room of water, a 10-foot cube of hand-dyed scrims, at sites in floodplains in the Skagit valley where high water is predicted. This interactive installation was part of the exhibition, “Surge,” at the Museum of Northwest Art. “Salish Wonder Room” was a changing collaborative project with Camlin’s students in the 2018 exhibition, “Modest Forms of Biocultural Hope,” in Western Gallery at WWU. The project tracked research and discoveries as students learned about organisms of the Salish Sea region, responding to the question: “What if we saw other species not only as objects to be collected, preserved and studied, but as living beings who are themselves holders of knowledge?”