Meet the Women Making Venetian Plaster Cool Again

Women of gallery.

Courtesy of Galerie Ground

Kamp Studios started off like any other finishing company—providing painterly, decorative finishes like glazing and faux bois—but with the resurgence of Venetian plaster, the studio and its well-known aesthetic has transformed. 

“When I first met Kim, we were doing decorative finishes, things trying to look like stone or wood,” creative director Amy Morgenstern says. “When we started injecting our own aesthetic and offering plaster, designers asked why we do anything else.”

Plaster exhibit in NYC.

Courtesy of Galerie Ground

When we started injecting our own aesthetic and offering plaster, designers asked why we do anything else.

Venetian plaster, a natural, eco-friendly material with varying color tints is sustainable, healthy to live in, and stands the test of time. It’s been used in Europe for centuries, but in the U.S., it’s not as common.

In the last decade, the women’s work has been recognized and sought-after, seen in Apparatus’ West Coast showroom and in several designer Athena Calderone's projects, including her Brooklyn townhouse. And most recently, in the opening of their bi-costal gallery, Galerie Ground. 

Plaster exhibit art on walls.

Courtesy of Galerie Ground

“The idea for Galerie Ground came when one of our oldest designers asked for more art,” founder Kim Collins says. “We had been doing one-off pieces, but didn’t necessarily want to put our art in this install.”

Throughout the years, Collins and Morgenstern have formed relationships with varying designers and artisans and are now able to showcase their work in Galerie Ground, including works by Madrid-based painter Armando Mesias, who the pair call a true storyteller, and Kamp client Chris Baas, who has an architecture degree and creates sculptural, minimalist anamorphic shapes. 

Kamp has been based in multiple areas of New York, from Dumbo to Bushwick to Red Hook, but it wasn’t until Amy was unable to get New York and was stuck in Los Angeles that the L.A. location came to fruition.

“If we were going to make ourselves known in the art world, the only way to do it is to have bases on both coasts,” Moregenstern says. “It says something else and sets a different tone.”

Wall art in exhibit.

Courtesy of Galerie Ground

Now the two galleries, which are in a chandelier factory-turned bike store in Red Hook, and a shuttered casting studio in L.A., exhibit the pair's unique aesthetic and talents. 

Their Brooklyn gallery needed a major cosmetic revamp when they rented the space. “The storefront was plywood with a plexiglass window and the address was spray painted on,” Collins says. “It’s certainly come a long way. We’ve touched everything in that space, and it’s been a beautiful evolution.”

Plaster wall art in exhibit.

Courtesy of Galerie Ground

The L.A. location, on the other hand, was a quick turnaround. The L.A. space, which includes the 3,000-square-foot gallery plus meeting space, showcases pieces that they believe in, artists that are intentional, and gorgeous plaster works. Brooklyn is a much smaller space due to the space constraints. 

“We’re really good at finding potential,” Morgenstern says. 

It’s their ability to imagine potential in spaces, creative instincts, and dedication to their artists and aesthetic that has made Kamp and Galerie Ground a ground-breaking endeavor.