Coastal Marin Artists Gallery

Wayne Campbell: Fire Proof

An Interactive, Mixed-Media Installation

May 2 - June 14, 2009

Curated by Dieter Tremp

Wayne Campbell–I have used the iconic five sided house image (like a child’s drawing of a house) in a lot of my work over the years. Think of the little wooden Monopoly Game house piece, except larger The shape is instantly recognizable, expressive and full of associations, conveniently provided by the audience!

I’ve been interested all my life in houses and the idea of “Home”, not so much as to the actual structures, although I have built and/or designed a few in my time, but in the house as a container of our projections, hopes and dreams; that is as the set on which so much of our personal narratives are played through, if we are lucky, to the final curtain.

In March I started thinking about the people I know who had lost a house to fire, some of our friends here in West Marin among them. But I remembered that there are other ways to lose a home, in fact here we know one friend who has lost the same house to both fire and foreclosure.

At about this time the true depth of the financial crisis started to become evident. Of course I was fascinated by the role that the idea of “Home“ played in the crisis in which our basic need for shelter had become, in aggregate, a “resource” to be cynically exploited by financial wizards of all sorts.

The form for the “Fire Proof” installation became clearer to me as I struggled to understand how derivatives traders had created such a mess of our economy. An image of your home as a monopoly game piece really made a lot of sense to me, so I went with it.  In this current exhibition there are metal credit default swaps hovering over solid wood houses on springs. Another substantial metal shell is balanced by buckets full of toxic assets (CDO’s). A cow brand materializes into a tiny burned up house. And boxes full of smoke contain neatly arrayed rows of burned houses, or nothing but your faint reflection.

Bolinas residents Wayne Campbell and his wife, dancer and conceptual artist Joanna Haigood, are nationally known for their multi-media/ performance installations. Wayne also does massive architectural projects and contemporary metal and wood furniture building in his studio in Dogtown.