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As a celebrated artist, Camilla Webster has already many accomplishments to her name. A solo show at Art Basel Miami, a special installment sponsored by Mercedes Benz at Miami Fashion Week, a featured artist at the Coral Springs Art Museum, and her work on display at the Kips Bay Palm Beach Designer Showhouse in the living room designed by Benjamin Deaton which ended up on the most recent cover of Veranda. Her Ted Talk “Art in Front of You” was described by Mana Contemporary’s Vice President Shai Baitel this way: “Camilla Webster has a message she delivers beautifully through color, line and form. Without a doubt her work will continue to gain attention in contemporary art circles, and draw an ever growing distinguished audience of collectors, gallerists and curators.” Its no surprise then that this summer, her first solo museum show will be curated by White House fellow and world renowned artist Bruce Helander.
Photo credit Nick Mele
While her abstract style is often bold and colorful, her work covers a wide range of topics and emotions. As a former journalist, many of her works draw from the topics she has covered. These pieces aim to confront dark realities that she came into contact with during her work with an eye towards social issues.
Her works confront head on immigrant labors, the human tole of the war in the middle east, the IRA all in a way that humanizes the issues, acknowledging the loss of innocence and loss of beauty that many chose to look past.
Other works address issues more personal to her life. As her own mother became ill, she strove to create canvases of beauty to share with her and give comfort. Using a wide flat brush and electrifying color, she created abstract images to evoke the beauty and calm of heaven. Creating these soothing images became a meditation, both for her as she was creating them with long continuous brush strokes as well as to those who experienced them.
Patrons of her work whose lives were filled with stresses found that the act of sitting in front of these works had an immensely calming effect. The artist has since come to refer to these works as “Meditation Paintings.”
Kips Bay Palm Beach Designer Showhouse
Living in New York City, she often found that after a long day she would find solace and calm through spending time in front of these works, to create a sensation she refers to as a “decelerated state.” She began to notice that art was everywhere if one was open to seeing it. She felt that art has the ability to “grab our attention and really emanate the feelings of the human condition …” The positive impact that these meditations had on her well-being led her to seek a way to share the calming effects with a larger audience.
She began photographing public art and everyday moments in New York City and sharing through social media. Her images capture moments that through her lens evoke fine art paintings through lighting, color and mood. A couple sharing a kiss, a hotdog stand at night, a just-married pair walking through the subway all radiated beauty and an appreciation for life in moments big and small.
This exercise in sharing the art she found in her everyday life through mindfulness led her to feel ready to go from her calm “decelerated state” to a purposeful “accelerated state” and from there she immersed herself in her art with new energy. This energy is palpable in her current works which are the result of her journey and evolution, taking all that the world has to offer, both challenging and beautiful and facing it all with a distinct appreciation for life and beauty.
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Text by Liana Hayles Newton / Images courtesy of Camilla Webster