Candice EH Cramer is an artist, amateur mycologist, explorer, and, when pressed to consider it, she admits that she is a cautious optimist. In her studio, minuscule monochrome prints hang like little gems on the walls, while unprinted neon surfaces await forth-coming spore samples and impressions. Larger, murky paintings explore a constellation of mushroom forms, rendered to fill and overflow a dark surface that suggests an infinite network beyond the limits of the rectangle. In recent installations in Maryland Art Place’s Young Blood exhibition and her MICA thesis exhibition, Cramer presented these along with natural wood forms that served as props and pedestals.
Cramer began exploring mushrooms after years of creating myopic biological imagery and a constant worry about the circular effects of the Anthropocene—humanity’s impact on the environment, and the changing environment’s impacts on human health and longevity.
Working as a bartender at the time, she came to explore mushrooms through the convergence of factors at her job, where she met chefs and foragers who experimented with cooking their discoveries. By day, she hiked before evening shifts and began to discover the variety of mushroom species around her on her own. Observing them in nature, recognizing their unique resilience and invisible connective systems running through the forests, Cramer began to see mushrooms as an avenue of hope in her work.