A drawing…a line! Portrait of Jennifer Caroline Campbell
#DRAWING “My dynamic practice relies on a playful and inventive approach to materials”. The daring art of Jennifer Caroline Campbell, British artist living and working in London, is transformed into a contemporary landscape inspired by material elements. Halfway between isolated work and object design, the artist reveals funny and colourful practices. She is focused on temporary identity, with paint lending a flashy surface to the everyday material that she uses as a canvas. Jennifer has presented her work “Bivouac” at Versailles in 2011.
Marlène Pegliasco: Could you speak about your background?
Jennifer Caroline Campbell: I was always making and drawing. Painting fell out of my life when I was about 12 and came back in when I was about 24, at first only as a surface layer for my sculptures, a coloured liquid to slather onto things and then later, while I was studying painting at the Slade School of Art, painting became more developed. At present painting, drawing and sculpture are all entangled in my practice, with drawing often providing a starting point and then painted line re-occurring in a transformed state, in the final works. Most recently I’ve also been writing fiction. Sometimes the fiction expands and develops a theme that I am exploring through my making and painting. For example, in a recent group exhibition titled ‘Beauty Salon’ (at the Alison Richards Building, Cambridge University) I released a short story in a zine, along side a group of installed sculptural and painted works.
Marlène Pegliasco: What place does the drawings have in your creation?
Jennifer Caroline Campbell: The immediate and throw-away nature of drawing allows me to be catch small things that might not seem important at first. A blank piece of paper can lead to an infinite number of un-predicted outcomes and this phenomenon, which proves itself to me over and over, is energising. I take a small rough notebook with me everywhere to make drawings in, therefore each drawing, whether it is from observation or invented or both, reflects the moment of its creation: my state of mind and surroundings. Identity is a very fluid thing to me and I feel that I am perpetually becoming a different self at each moment. In this way a drawing
becomes a marker within this changing self. But of course the drawing goes on to transform on its own path, often beyond recognition.
Marlène Pegliasco: Why this predilection for figurative?
Jennifer Caroline Campbell: My work is about the human experience, in particular the sensation of being an individual entity and being tied to a disintegrate-able flesh. I am aware that I am separate from the exterior world: landscape, time, other. But equally I am enmeshed and formed by these exterior structures. I use my work to re-imagine the expectations of identity and so my use of the figure embodies this exploration.
Portrait of a draftswoman:
If you were a drawing? I would not remain in one singular drawing but move restlessly between many drawings and other objects too, transforming perpetually.
The most unusual support for creating? Although I paint onto odd materials, it is not their oddness that I choose them for, it is there appropriateness for what I am doing. I use
polystyrene, old cardboard and other discarded items and often I come across them by chance. The materials I select symbolise a kind of shoddy matter, the chance-formed body
upon which we build our selves.
Drawings are like…Un-thought thoughts that expand greedily.
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