Photo: Three Kings by Eric James Montgomery
A new exhibition at Rutgers-Camden’s Stedman Gallery, Portraits of Camden, includes work by Kimberly Camp, Pedro Fuller, Rafael J. Miranda-Mattei, Erik James Montgomery, Beverly Collins-Roberts, and Donald T. Williams—all artists with ties to the city. State of the Arts has featured both Erik James Montgomery and Kimberly Camp.
Kimberly Camp met with State of the Arts in 2021 to discuss her philosophy as a gallery owner and her artistic practice—including her decades of experience in doll making.
With a focus on affordable art, she tells us that regardless of budget, “I try to encourage people to become collectors of original work.” Handmade items, as you can find in her Galerie Marie in Collingswood, carry a particularly tactile sense of meaning. Specifically, alongside her painting practice, Kimberly has created intricate and unique dolls.
Noting the importance of craft’s presence in the fine art world, she tells us, “By segregating out craft, you segregate out populations of people. You eliminate cultures of people and you discount their aesthetic. It allows you still stay within this frame that suggests that the only ‘real’ artwork comes from western Europe—which is ridiculous.”
Photographer Erik James Montgomery has been an advocate in Camden for decades, teaching at-risk youth both the artistic and commercial aspects of photography. In his Kings and Queens series (see above), he encourages kids to “see themselves as royalty,” showcasing portraiture’s potential to inspire.
Echoing Kimberly Camp’s priorities for affordable and accessible art, Erik James Montgomery brings his work out of the gallery space and onto the street. “I put up big posters of my artwork so that people can look at it. They can bring it home if they want to—it’s really for them.”
See their work and more in Portraits of Camden at the Stedman Gallery at Rutgers-Camden through December 10. Don’t miss your chance to meet the artists at a public reception on Saturday, October 15! Keep an eye out for our weekly Wednesday newsletters—in our Happening Now section, we include events like this in New Jersey’s artistic community.