Detail of Yep.
Over the weekend at Joshua Liner Gallery in Chelsea, NYC, California-based artist Thomas Campbell opened his solo show “Ampersand,” bringing with him a calm from the Pacific that seemed disorientingly refreshing in a city that breeds anxiety. Campbell, who is as much a painter as he is a filmmaker, skateboarder, surfer, record-label founder and photographer, continues to defy the mainstream pressures of specialization and containment, a shared temperament for many of his fellow artists that emerged in the 1990s — the Beautiful Losers such as Barry McGee, Cheryl Dunn and Harmony Korine.
Campbell’s colorful paintings, which sometimes stretched an entire length of the gallery’s wall, are decentralized in every way possible — from the numerous conversations being had by his fictional mole people to the protruding, painted caterpillars and fixtures that hang as if the canvases have grown little legs. His sculptures, though characters only a modern-day human could dream up, are molded using a lost-wax technique; and the artist’s pinwheel quilts may be tidily framed, but deliberately accentuate the many frayed ends of the fabrics, attesting to the antiquity of his sewing machine.
The energy Campbell’s work exudes is neither loud nor pompous, but is a kind of self-satisfied defiance that is hard to pin down at first, especially in the middle of Chelsea, swept in the hustle of the wealth-centric realm of Manhattan where sleepy beach town mentalities are scoffed at. Although the works in “Ampersand” are cleanly and delicately executed, a far cry from Campbell’s grainy 16mm films, the homegrown persistence is very much there, subtly underlying the neat veneer.
“Ampersand” is on view at Joshua Liner Gallery in NYC until July 12, 2014.
Thomas Campbell at the opening night of “Ampersand.”
Thomas Campbell. Yep. Acrylic, gouache, spray paint on wood panels and gourds.
Thomas Campbell. Hide or Seek. Acrylic, gouache, spray paint on wood panels and gourds.
Thomas Campbell. Left & Right: Larger Quilt no. 4 & no. 5. Center: P-wheel Quilt. Paper, acrylic, packaging envelope, thread, spray paint, pencil, rice bags, various currency.
Detail of Larger Quilt no. 4.
Detail of P-wheel Quilt.
Thomas Campbell’s sculptures at “Ampersand.”
Thomas Campbell. Ummmm Guy. Acrylic, gouache, spray paint on wood.
Detail installation view of “Ampersand.”
Thomas Campbell. Perfect Ego Death. Acrylic, gouache, spray paint on wood.
Thomas Campbell. Together in Mid Thought. Acrylic, gouache, spray paint on wood.
Thomas Campbell. Wading. Acrylic, gouache, spray paint on wood panels and gourds.
Detail of Wading.
Thomas Campbell. Nimbin. Bronze.
Thomas Campbell. The Aaahh. Acrylic, gouache, spray paint on wood panels and gourds.