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Damian Stamer
North Carolina

Artist Statement Submitted 2019

I am shaken by an old barn’s history, yet I find beauty within it. Time is visible here. Quiet moments approach the sublime when afternoon light rakes the grain of a fallen beam, or cloud-like stuffing erupts from a rotten chair. Violent and tender, this beauty hinges on the delicate nature of existence. These remnants are, like us, soaked with impermanence. We cannot escape a similar fate.

I struggle to translate the weight of this place into words. There is a heaviness, a depth to the soil. How do I reconcile privileged and carefree childhood memories with adult knowledge of the inequalities, transgressions, and violence that pervade this same earth? These old barns, however picturesque and quaint, also stand as remnants of American industries founded upon slavery and exploitation. Loss lingers indefinitely. I question my authority. I certainly do not have all the answers, but am nonetheless compelled to document my home the best way I know how—writing stories in pigment and oil.

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