THE FLIP SIDE OF ORDINARY
OPENING RECEPTION: SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22
through November 3rd
I notice things that are common and ordinary and give them a sense of playfulness and recognition. I tell their stories. I am often drawn to paint trailers and trailer parks, which are repetitive and generic in design, but distinctive and different in their details. They speak of the desire we have to be valued as individuals, but also say that none of us wants to be marginalized or overlooked. Some are trailers colored and cared for—clearly homes filled with life. Some are abandoned, strewn with leftover belongings, suggesting a past mystery that we want to know more about. In this way, all my paintings provide a glimpse of a subtle, individual story that the viewer is invited to complete.
I am a colorist, and so constantly explore the relationships between different colors, along with their emotive effects. Colors have a “temperature,” so their interaction is a critical element in the stories I tell. I also apply paint in degrees of thickness, moving from gestural washes to thicker, more descriptive paintwork, which pulls the viewer’s focus to the key elements in the story being told.
Rachel Campbell is 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 is a visual poet who writes about the everyday, expressing her experience of life in paint. She frequently explores the urban landscapes of the American South, and of her homeland, New Zealand. Her images also invariably presuppose narratives. These often then combine to evoke the sense of belonging that we all long for, no matter what our particular environment might be.
Rachel has exhibited in the United Kingdom, Germany, and New Zealand, as well as in the USA. She has received numerous awards and fellowships including the Emerging Artist Grant for Durham in 2013, Southern Arts Grant in the UK, and fellowships at the Vermont Studio Center and the Key West Artist Residency.
Her work is in public and private collections in many countries, including Duke University, University of NC Chapel Hill, Fidelity Investments and UNC Rex Hospital.
“Once more Rachel Campbell brings our attention back to the overlooked, this time with water bottles, dish soap, and styrofoam containers. Her playful attention to these details (i.e. the things we remove from photographs) is all the more delightful when juxtaposed against the curated ‘real life’ images of social media. (How many pictures of lattes looking just so have you seen lately?) Here the difference between Rachel’s artwork and the artfully edited images on our newsfeeds strikes me as down right funny.
In Rachel’s words: ‘It’s just not what you would expect, much like you wouldn’t expect a trailer in a painting of a landscape. And yet these things have their own inherent beauty and comedy. There is often a quirkiness to them that I really like…It’s about doing the ordinary and the everyday and not wanting to beautify or pretty it all up.'”
-Lauren Greenspan, local videographer and art enthusiast.