Born in the small town of Bridgeport, West Virginia and raised by two busy doctors in a family of three older siblings, a twin brother, and five cats, Kate McCammon learned early on that she had a knack for creating, a passion for art, and an endless stack of sketchbooks to prove it. She took her passion beyond her rural state and went on to earn her BFA in Painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore in 2012 and MFA in Studio Art from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) in Philadelphia in 2016. In between and after her educational pursuits, she has been awarded a number of residencies, including the Starry Night Residency Program in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico; the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica in Venice, Italy; and the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont. Upon earning her Master’s degree, she has been included in a number of group exhibitions including shows at First Street Gallery in New York City, NY; PAFA’s Alumni Gallery in Philadelphia, PA; and at The Art Trust in West Chester, PA; among others. In 2020 and 2021 she had solo exhibitions at AUTOMAT Gallery in Philadelphia and at Curio. Gallery & Creative Supply in Lancaster, PA. Currently living and working in Philadelphia, she works as PAFA’s Academic Coordinator while maintaining her studio practice. With a rooted painter’s mentality, she is currently working on a body of work that hits close to home—a series of fabric collages of familial narratives and portraits inspired by old photographs, albums, and journals.
A reconstruction of a photo album, “My Album” is inspired by the experience of reimagining family photographs. As each layer prints upon the other, the mind fills in the blanks to create a picture that is sometimes clear but sometimes faded until the memory seems more like a veil stitched together from scraps than a record of events written in stone. Over the years I had accumulated many family photo albums, mostly from my mom's attempts to liquidate her empty nest. Chronicling the happenings of a family of seven, these albums were naturally very thick. My dad's passing in 2018 had already sparked an interest in my family's past, but when I thumbed through the images frozen in time, laughing at the matching baby outfits and cringing at the awkward teen years, I wondered how this story came to be and what I thought the story even was. The process of creating my Codex project was a way for me to uncover answers through the reimaging of my own history. I developed this book partially during the forced isolation brought on by the pandemic, a period that had been filled with introspection, kicked into focus by the mementos of family life –photos of proms, relics of athletic victories, and scrapbooks upon scrapbooks. Memories mundane and monumental, warming and embarrassing, each became magnified under the microscope of quarantine.
While “My Album” uses imagery of my own personal history, my hope is that the viewer flipping through these pages will see glimpses of their own stories unfold within the frames. The blank pages towards the back of the book symbolize the continuation of the story and those that have yet to be told.