by David Kamm
Kristin Wigley-Fleming Fine Arts Gallery, Center for the Arts
August 29 - October 19, 2007
In December 2006, David Kamm was selected to participate in a project sponsored by the Holter Museum of Art in Helena, Montana. Speaking Volumes: Transforming Hate challenged artists to “transform, incorporate or otherwise respond to books of hate propaganda published by the World Church of the Creator.” Participating artists were provided copies of the books from the Montana Human Rights Network, which had previously acquired and taken them out of circulation. The project anchored Kamm’s sabbatical activities during spring semester 2007, when he served as artist-in-residence at the Henry Luce III Center for the Arts and Religion at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington DC. While there, he created drawings, linoleum prints, and a series of text-based collages that became the focus of his efforts to achieve the transformation required for the project. Additional information about the project and its related activities can be found at The Holter Museum website.
David Kamm earned his B.A. degree in art education at Wartburg College (Waverly, IA) and both his M.A. and M.F.A. degrees in printmaking from the University of Iowa (Iowa City). Since 1989 he has served as art gallery coordinator and assistant professor of art (part-time) at Luther College. He has presented papers at several national conferences on art and education, including FATE (Foundations in Art: Theory and Education) and the College Art Association. His work has been included in over 120 juried, group, and solo exhibitions and is represented in a number of institutional collections both in the United States and abroad. Additional information can be found at his website.
"Perhaps because I was working in a seminary at the time, my response to the project focused on the anti-Christian aspects of the hate books. The drawings juxtaposed biblical passages etched on the cornerstones of Wesley buildings with pages from the hate literature, while the linocuts incorporated variations of traditional church symbols printed on selected pages of the books. Although those responses contained elements I liked, neither achieved the type of transformation I felt the project required. That came in a series of collages created from acid-free photocopies of text clipped from The White Man’s Bible. The photocopies were cut into pieces roughly the size and shape of matches, and reassembled in a style reminiscent of various folk arts, work that often springs from strong convictions rooted in faith or belief. After the collages were completed, a friend suggested that matches were an appropriate metaphor for such inflammatory material, an observation I certainly appreciated. All of the collages in the series are based on the format of a cross, which for Christians is a potent symbol of transformation. The cross is more or less apparent in each unique design, a reminder that active participation is required to achieve individual transformation."