Rick Camire Narrative
Born in Lowell Massachusetts, at the age of fourteen I exhibited my work at the James McNeal Whistler Museum in Lowell Massachusetts. My work caught the attention of the Lowell City Council and I was commissioned to do a painting for the Lowell City Hall.
My formal education in the arts began at the Art Institute of Boston where I began to learn, understand, and refine my craft. To pay my tuition I worked third shift in a warehouse driving a forklift at night, and attending school during the day. This rigorous schedule was challenging and instilled a work ethic and priorities that I continue to use to this day.
During this time I exhibited my work in Boston. From 1970 to 1972 I exhibited at the Copley Society Gallery of Boston, receiving honorable mentions and a review in the Boston Globe newspaper (August, 1970).
In 1972 I moved to San Francisco, California. I worked in a blueprint factory as a blueprint machine operator; I became interested in the graphic nature of the hundreds of images constantly crossing my line of sight and started to employ a similar aspect into my work. I did not attend college during this time but was very active in my studio and continued to exhibit my work, participating in group shows and competitions throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and California.
In September of 1977 I entered the San Francisco Art Institute. While studying at the San Francisco Art Institute I came under the influence of instructor and painter Sam Tchakalian. Sam Tchakalian was born and raised in Shanghai, China; Tchakalian emphasized a philosophical approach to painting based upon contemporary Western and Asian aesthetics. He would quote to me, “Learn the lesson — you get the master’s stick. Fail the lesson — you get the master’s stick”. My work changed dramatically and my painting evolved, employing the integration of the process aesthetic integrating abstraction and nonobjective approaches.
I received my BFA in 1979 and my MFA in 1981. I supplemented my tuition and living expenses by self-employment in construction, primarily drywall and wall treatment. Using trowels of various sizes I applied compounds and other treatment to walls. I found this fascinating. I decided to discard traditional brushes and replace them with trowels and squeegees that I continue to use in all my painting and works on paper.
In the early nineteen-eighties I focused on issues involved with my response to historical and cultural experience linking accountability and innocence. I continued to develop my painting and had five solo exhibitions.
By the mid nineteen-eighties new developments occurred in my painting. I felt color should have a reason to exist, to have what I call a “birthright” and not arbitrary. I did not want to use color for the sake of color; a cavalier approach, without personal discovery or meaning. I was not interested in consistency as much as I was concerned with continuity or what I call kinship.
1981 I was included in the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC: The Papers of Richard Camire, (Deed of Gift) in conjunction with the Hassel Smith Papers.
1983 I lectured on my work at the San Francisco Art Institute in San Francisco, California.
1985 lectured at the California College of Arts And Crafts in Oakland, California.
1986 my work was included in the collection of The World Print Council of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California.
1988 my work was purchased for installation at the Oakland City Hall, California.
1989 my work was included in the Art in Embassies Program in Washington DC.
1990 my work was purchased by Banco Interandino, Lima Perú.
1996-97 I was awarded a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant.
In 1997 my interest turned towards a suite of paintings and works on paper inspired by sites along the Yangtze River in China in the area called The Gorges, the area being transformed by the Three Gorges Dam Project. My work explored the intimate links between landscape change and the evolution of cultural memory. I focused on how the local communities of the Yangtze River region maintain their heritage in spite of the continuing and inevitable rearranging of their material and spiritual landscape. I have continued with my investigation and suite of work on the Three Gorges up to the present.
1997 through 2002 I held a faculty teaching position at the San Francisco Art Institute. I taught intermediate and advanced painting, beginning and intermediate drawing, and intermediate and advanced drawing.
2001 and 2002 I completed two commissions; a total of ten paintings for the newly constructed four star Four Points Hotel, in Chung Ho, Taipei, Taiwan.
2001 through 2003 I served as a member to the San Francisco Art Institute Board Trustees.
2000 through 2004 I served on the San Francisco Art Institute Artist Committee where I was involved with juried annual exhibitions, lecture series, Salon groups, including the prestigious San Francisco Art Institute Adeline Kent Award.
2000 to 2004 I was a member of the Artist Mentoring Program at the San Francisco Art Institute, and presently The Academy of Art University in San Francisco, working with students and artists throughout the San Francisco Bay Area community mentoring and conducting tutorials and ESL studies.
Reviews and articles include the Boston Globe, Art in Embassies, Book 25 at the US Department of State, Artweek, San Jose Mercury News, Orange County Register, Art in America, and California Art Review: American References.