Katelyn Bladel and David Campbell

Katelyn Bladel is a printmaker and photographer currently living in Eagle Mountain, Utah. She received an MFA in Printmaking from the University of New Mexico in 2017. She is deeply interested in the complexities of “place”, spending hours on highways and backroads, seeking out and researching the history of rural towns, abandoned structures, and roadside architecture in an effort to understand their relationship with the surrounding landscape and their significance in both the past and present.

David Campbell is a new media artist and photographer currently living in Baltimore, MD. His work is often based in found and archival imagery. Whether he is writing glitches into digital images, blocking out parts of photographs from the viewer, or using hand made marks to make new connections between the subjects – he manipulates these images – not to find answers, but to create more questions by pushing what an object can do while maintaining its initial identity.

Bladel and Campbell met in 2015 while attending school at the University of New Mexico; and began working collaboratively on small projects shortly thereafter. While their subject matter and preferred mediums are often vastly different they are both reactive artists: driven by curiosity, relishing the process of searching and collecting, diving into archives, and creating work in response to images and objects they find. Their collaborative work remains inquisitive and playful while still addressing serious subject matter.

A Death in the Desert

“A Death in the Desert” blurs fact, fiction, theory, experience, and interpretations through the collaborative investigation into the mysterious death of David Stone, a stock market analyst who disappeared on rural NM 80 while traveling from California to Texas in 1988. Police found strange clues in his car and nearby in the desert wilderness, including: a cryptic handwritten note, multiple piles of rocks, and an incorrect fibonacci sequence drawn in the dirt (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 18). None of it could be deciphered with certainty. Stone’s disappearance was featured on the show Unsolved Mysteries in 1990, and in 1992 two hunters found his body in the same area police had found various clues four years before. Thirty years later, the reason for Stone’s disappearance and death still remain a mystery.

In the fall of 2016 Bladel and Campbell began extensive research into Stone, finding long discussion threads of various theories on obscure websites, and old newspaper articles on microfilm in the Santa Fe library archives. In November 2016 and March 2017 they drove to the exact location David Stone was last seen alive, mile marker 18 on NM 80, and investigated the area, recreating clues that were left behind hoping to understand what could have happened to Stone in 1988. In this body of work Bladel and Campbell explore how artists interpret, present, and create information, and perhaps even more significantly, pose the question: what if we have all the information, but we still don’t have the answers?

To view more of Katelyn Bladel and David Campbell’s work please visit their website.