Art gallery displays work of late 'shining light'

March 04, 2012|By RICHARD F. BELISLE |
  • Timothy Kamer's mother, Monica Kamer, left, and grandson William stand Saturday in front of a Timothy Kamer self-portrait at the Bridge Gallery in Shepherdstown, W.Va.
Photo by Richard F. Belisle

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — Saturday afternoon, the Bridge Gallery was transformed into a memorial and a legacy for Timothy Kamer, a rising art-world star who died four months ago in an automobile accident at the age of 37.

The walls of the main room of the gallery at 8566 Shepherdstown Pike were covered with Kamer’s landscapes and still lifes, drawings, sketches, nudes and portraits. A separate room held his self-portraits.

Kamer, a 1993 Jefferson High School graduate, was within three weeks of earning a Master of Fine Arts from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco when he died on Dec. 4.

Kathryn Burns, owner of the gallery, said Kamer’s work was the subject of a one-day exhibit and sale Saturday, the proceeds from which will go into a trust fund for his son, William Kamer, 9.

Price tags on the works ranged from around $200 to $1,000. He didn’t sign his work, Burns said.

“Tim had a very promising future,” she said. “He was talented and creative. I was looking forward to seeing where his talent would have taken him.”

Monica Kamer of Inwood, W.Va., the artist’s mother, said her son was an active child who loved being in the 4-H Saddle Club, skiing, swimming and skateboarding. He did a little drawing once in awhile, but not often, she said.

He graduated with a degree in English from Shepherd University in 2000 after starting his freshman year with art courses, his mother said.

Kamer worked as a tech writer for an outside contractor at the U.S. Coast Guard’s Operations Systems Center in Kearneysville, W.Va., for about five years.

“He hated it,” said Courtney Kamer of Richmond, Va., William’s mother. She and Kamer are divorced.

Courtney and William were at the gallery Saturday.

“Tim was passionate, a big dreamer,” Courtney Kamer said.

“I was very surprised at what he has done. The results are amazing,” she said looking around at the quantity and quality of artwork hanging the gallery walls.

“Tim was self-taught,” she said. “He bought books on anatomy and just started painting. He managed to put together a good portfolio so he could be accepted into grad school.”

Comments from friends and others who knew Kamer are included in an appreciation of Kamer that his mother had at the gallery Saturday.

In it, one friend wrote: “We all knew that your reach and passion for life stretched much greater into the world beyond.”

Another wrote: “You seemed to make getting through hard times look so easy, just like you made being happy look so easy.”

One of his professors added: “He was a shining light as a student and as a human being.”

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