Cynthia Camlin’s work in painting and drawing explores environmental change through abstracted forms. Several series of paintings present marine ice as complex structures undermined by melt and movement, registering the effects of climate change while evoking human systems undermined by environmental realities. 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 where high water is predicted.
Camlin is a professor at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. Her interdisciplinary courses, Art and Ecology, and Figure and Symbol, expand the normal pedagogy of studio art. Salish Wonder Room was a changing collaborative project by Camlin and her Art and Ecology students in Fall 2018. In a room designed as a cabinet of curiosities within the Western Gallery exhibition, Modest Forms of Biocultural Hope, the project tracked students’ research and experimentation as they responded to scientific research, field study, indigenous practices, and contemporary art. The project addressed 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?”