2020 is on its way out of our collective memory, though not without fully overhauling life as we’ve known it. At The CAMP, we kicked the year off by starting from scratch, adding new and wildly talented artists to our darling roster (i.e., making loads of new friends), partnering with FAMA for a 40-artist exhibition, leaving our Little River home and setting up shop in North Miami, and even the launch of a brand-new virtual gallery with the help of Emperia, UK.
Which made us curious—how has the unruly intensity of the new decade impacted those we work closest with?
In the spirit of growth and community, we bring you The CAMP’s 2020 Roundup, a small interview series featuring reflections from our CAMP and CAMP Spotlight artists.
Gustavo Fernandes. Head 129, 2017. Monotype on Canvas. 30 x 40 cm.
Portuguese painter, printmaker, and CAMP Spotlight artist Gustavo Fernandes focuses on response in his work, taking into account the “intuitive and emotional charge” of each scene as he works. There exists a melding of anxiety and voyeurism in the Central Saint Martins’ graduate’s pieces, a source of tension for the audience as he takes abstraction from a simple practice to an emotional gambit.
Be it entire assemblies of figures or an eerie monotype portrait of someone one could know, Fernandes engages with symbolic expression and what is regarded as commonplace. “The banal, the corny, the fringed, the scared, and the totally opposite. It’s all made of contradictions, since the underground is always targeted by the mainstream. “
2020 has been a difficult and often tumultuous year - how has it affected you and your artwork?
It has brought a whole new level of anxiety and, if anything, the work feels more urgent. At the same time, it brought a new perspective, and a less critically negative light on previous work.
What has been the biggest hurdle you have had to deal with since March of this year?
Not being able to be with loved ones.
Have you noticed any changes in your work?
As mentioned before, mostly more urgency, more perspective over unnecessary detail.
Have you noticed any changes in how people react and or engage with your work now that they can see it mainly online?
It made connecting more superficial.
What has been the best thing that has happened this year?
Biden winning the election.
Gustavo Fernandes. Untitled 18_2, 2019. Oil on wood. 40 x 30 cm.
Has anything surprised you this year?
The negativity of this year has waned my capacity to get surprised, but it still happens, especially with small things.
What inspires you currently? Do you see this changing?
Contemplation. Animal behaviour. Yes, the year has brought a whole new type of perspective.
Is there anything (exhibition, event, travel, etc.) that you had to forego this year that ended up working out beautifully?
Lots of things, but we always adapt quicker and better than we expect.
In the same vein, is there anything that quarantine/isolation has inspired you to start doing or practicing?
How does your process differ now that we’re all spending less time out “in the world” and more time with ourselves?
It’s more charged with anxiety. We are living more inside our heads for sure, which I believe brings more bad than good.
How do you see this moment in time affecting the bigger industry in the long-term?
Maybe a little democratisation, but I’m trying not to get my hopes too inflated.
Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions?
Gustavo Fernandes. Untitled 26, 2019. Oil on linen. 40.5 x 45.5 cm.