Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Cath Campbell "Ideal Mexico" Preview - Friday 10th February, 6-9pm at Workplace Gallery

Image: Cath Campbell, And we said nothing, all of the day (detail), 2012, Photographic Prints, Shelf, Dimensions Variable. Courtesy of the artist and Workplace Gallery, UK.


Cath Campbell

Ideal Mexico

Preview: Friday 10th February 2012 , 6 - 9pm

Exhibition continues:
11th February - 17th March 2012
Tuesday - Saturday, 11am - 5pm
(or by appointment)

Workplace Gallery are pleased to announce Ideal Mexico our first solo exhibition by Cath Campbell.

Campbell's new work focuses on the world portrayed and offered by the proliferation of ubiquitous upmarket lifestyle and travel guides. Image-rich, and with a carefully selected colour palette, these publications are intelligently illustrated employing cool architectural photography with tautly corrected perspective free of lens distortion. Such images tap into our knowledge both of art (via Edward Hopper and Bernd and Hilla Becher) and of cinema. These guides serve as a golden ticket enabling us to project our lives into places that we will probably never visit, with the secondary function that they look good on our bookshelves, advertising our cosmopolitan worldliness in a compact row of pantone neatness.

In Hotel Series Campbell carefully collages tiny circles cut directly from images of hotel interiors from different cities. Each dot is placed on white paper in the same layout as the original photograph and in each case Campbell has only selected one blue, one yellow, two browns, and a black; creating a new reading of these photographs through her ambiguously seductive minimal constellations that reflect upon the banal nature of international interior design.

In stark contrast to these delicate collages Campbell has created a series of dramatically enlarged found images which have been UV printed onto powder coated aluminium; titled For I have known them all already, known them all # 1-6. Each image, selected from a travel guide has then been rephotographed by Campbell and then almost entirely removed to leave an aperture surrounded by a the white margins of the publication page and a small border of abstract colour and shape that relates more to the history of abstract painting than to the photographic source.

This relentless interrogation of and intervention into such a specific source and subject matter is continued in an untitled series of works that again sit deliberately between contemporary art's disciplines and conventions. Photographic images are again printed onto aluminium however this time Campbell has aggressively obliterated each image entirely with spray paint limiting our engagement with the photograph by rendering it as a subtle ghost image only just visible through the painted surface.

Cath Campbell's practice to date is dominated by an ongoing enquiry into the status, meaning and fabric of architecture and public space. Taking Modernism as a point of departure Campbell has consistently re-appropriated architectural imagery to create works that reinvent our associations with the built environment. And we said nothing, all the day continues this analysis from the privacy of her dining room table. The work is an ongoing unlimited series of photographs that are presented stacked and leant along a narrow shelf. Taking it's title from a line in John Donne's poem The Ecstasy each photograph is of another photograph chosen as if Campbell is a tourist looking around the city portrayed, taking snaps of things that catch her eye. These Lo-Fi images, which often include the reflection or shadow of Campbell and her Camera on the original photograph, serve to undermine the authoritarian status assumed by the original imagery.

Alongside these photographic works, Campbell presents a series of new sculptures continuing her interest in re-creating found architecture as scale models. Information gleaned from anonymous Google images is used to piece together three-dimensional forms from two dimensional images, allowing an element of editing, adding and deleting to create an object that acts as a credible architectural form.

Ideal Mexico, a chance but fitting title taken from the model name of the old central heating boilers in the gallery building, invites us to question the relationship between reality, desire, and experience; challenging the superficiality and formality of our insatiable appetite for images depicting and describing how our lives could be in an ideal world.

Cath Campbell was born in 1972 in Ilkeston, UK. She lives and works in Newcastle, UK.

Workplace Gallery was founded in 2005 by artists Paul Moss and Miles Thurlow. Based in Gateshead UK, Workplace Gallery represents a portfolio of emerging and established artists through the gallery programme, curatorial projects and international art fairs. Workplace Gallery is currently at The Old Post Office, Gateshead; a listed 19th Century red brick building built upon the site where the important British artist, engraver and naturalist Thomas Bewick (1753-1828) lived and died.

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