TELL ALL THE TRUTH BUT TELL IT SLANT
July 9th through August 27th, 2022
Creativity was my escape during childhood and continues to be my joy and salvation. I seek to reveal beauty in the ordinary, whether it be in a brightly colored curtain in a trailer home window, a tree growing amidst small-town architecture, or the intricate pattern on a second-hand chair. I look for the playful side of things normally seen as ugly or mundane and draw attention to the commonly overlooked. My colorful paintings depict environments and their stories. I choose to work in abstracted realism, painting recognizable places and objects that I manipulate through color and juxtapositions of flattened spaces against modeled forms. I broadly paint some areas and use graphic detail to lead the eye to the most important objects in the story. This style of painting allows me to play with composition, to create moods with color, and to give personality and life to inanimate objects.
A human presence is implied by the absence of people and the inclusion of things they have left behind. Memories and experiences fuel my paintings, fleshed out with cherished details
from my life—a dog leash, a plant given to me by a loved one, a favorite book, my kitchen table. While the meaning of these personal elements may not be immediately evident, their
universality invites viewers to make their own associations. My hope is that my paintings bring forth other people’s stories and stir their memories, encouraging them to find beauty and playfulness in their own daily lives.
“I want to visit the places Rachel Campbell depicts in oil on canvas. These are real places—London as seen from the South Bank, a trailer park, a simple white house on a suburban street.
But something about the way Campbell depicts them renders them absolutely magical, at once true to how they exist in real life, and yet utterly dreamy and luminescent.
I want so much to visit these places and thanks to Campbell I have, as best one possibly can. These places—at least how they are depicted here—do not exist out in the world. They exist in
Campbell’s own experience and memory. How fortunate that she has the technical ability and generosity of spirit to have expended the effort of translating them onto painted
canvas for us all to see. The hope then is that her vision can color ours, encouraging others to see the wonders she sees out there.”
— Lori Waxman, Chicago Tribune Art Critic
“If art isn’t playful, it’s nothing. Without play we wouldn’t be anywhere. Play is incredibly important; it’s deeply serious as well. It’s hardly a criticism of my work to call it playful; on the contrary, it is flattering!”
— David Hockney
Rachel Campbell is originally from Christchurch, New Zealand. She has lived in the USA since 2003. She went to the Otago School of Art in Dunedin, New Zealand, and the Central School of
Art in Toronto, Canada. Rachel has lived and exhibited in the United Kingdom, Germany, New Zealand, and the USA. She has received numerous awards and fellowships including the Durham Arts Council Emerging Artist and Professional Development Grant in 2013 and 2022, Southern Arts Grant in the UK, and residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and the Key West, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts as well as Cambo Estate in Scotland 2020.
Her work is in the upcoming New American Paintings South issue #160 and Create Magazine #29. She has been featured recently in My Modern Met, The Seattle Times, and Traits D’Co Magazine in Paris. Rachel’s is in public and private collections in many countries, including locally at Duke University, University of NC Chapel Hill, Fidelity Investments and UNC Rex Hospital.