new perth review

Posted by campbell October 11th, 2010

Ric Spencer reviewed my latest exhibition, New Perth, in the October 8 edition of the West Australian paper. However, the paper was a limited edition run and was only available for sale on one day, so now you’ve all missed out on buying it, and reading it.

Fear not however! I have scanned the article and even typed it out for your reading pleasure.

“Since impressionism’s intoxication with Japanese prints and Gaugauin’s heading off to Polynesia, the pure of the exotic “other” has never really left art. Of course, it’s never really left our subconscious (or travel brochures) since the Europeans set sail for new worlds but today with global imagery a mouse click away, surely desktop travelling is de rigueur and our desires to elope to fables lands have dwindled.

Not so, according to three shows in town now.

What is interesting about Campbell Whyte’s New Perth, Stephen Eastaugh’s A good Day Tonight and Julie Podstolski’s Geisha is that exotic doesn’t necessarily mean pleasant and nor does it mean utopia. Rather is seems that the contemporary exotic is a nostalgia for anything uncorrupted as a counterpoint to apathy and acceptance.

So, in this sense, where does the contemporary exotic exist? Whyte’s great little show at Free Range is a good place to start looking.

After spending some time in San Fracisco and Oaxaca, Mexico, on artist residencies, Whyte has returned to Perth to produce an art of terrific violence, heavily influenced by the political art of South America.

The style and mannerisms in the paintings blend mural and death art, new age and cult symbolism and the stark, pared down vitriol of someone like Leon Golub.

The new mantra in Whyte’s work is a wake-up call for Perth audiences. Like the work of Patrick Doherty, Whyte examines the possibilities of moral meltdown and examines a Perth engaged with fighting for ideals, involved in protest and civil unrest.

Heady stuff but also refreshing in its approach and the technique it’s delivered in.

The six-panelled work at the centre of the back wall dominates the show and indeed is strong enough to be shown on its own, subjugating the wall painting and other installation work.

This multi-panelled piece utilises broken narrative to deliver six separate works, with titles like Feast of the Unicorns, My Eyes Eat Honey and It Keeps You Running as an ode to the exotic other lying in found aweareness and a cause worth fighting for. In Whyte’s work the breaking down of social structure might lead to chaos but also a sense of rebirth.

This is strong figurative work in search of raw emotion.”


curtin lecture

Posted by campbell October 9th, 2010

I was invited to talk at a recent architecture lecture to Curtin students about creative mapping and the future of Perth. Elizabeth Karol contacted me after seeing my recent exhibition New Perth promoted in a newspaper and was interested in how I was addressing the current disengagement that many citizens felt with the city.

I had to look up what creative mapping is, but when I did, realised that a lot of the work that I do and am interested in comes under this sort of practice. My work is hugely influenced by video games and comics, both of which rely incredibly heavily on the fabrication of believable environments, both cultural and environmental as well as the development of narrative. You have to be able to sell a world to someone, make them believe in it, want to visit it, enjoy it and invest in it as much as they can.

This is also the challenge facing future planners. How do you create a convincing vision of our future that will make people willing to disassemble their current lives to create this new one? Sacrificing things they might love, things that are comfortable, for a great unknown.

I talked about a lot of things in the lecture. Some of these things include.

  • The struggle of non-architectural societies to maintain their cultural practices once their geographic space becomes occupied by an architectural society.
  • The slow boil, bottom up nature of culture.
  • The Oaxacan teachers movement and how it changed my perception of the relationship between governments and citizens and our responsibilities to culture.
  • The suffering of Perth culture under our resource driven economic booms, both in the past and present.
    The sustainability of cultural practices.
  • What happens when the dominant cultural identity in your home land is not one that you identify with.
  • The difficulty that the general public has in identifying the value of cultural practitioners when they often operate outside of traditional economic models and earn below minimum wage.
  • The problems with the current lane way projects in Perth.
  • I thoroughly enjoyed giving the lecture and the lively discussion that took place after my talk. It was my first time talking like this in an educational context, it was mainly worrying because I wasn’t sure if I was making any sense to anyone there. Coming in to the class cold, without attending any of the previously lectures made me concerned that I would come in, talk a lot of left of field, unrelated nonsense and leave everyone shaking their heads. Maybe that’s exactly what happened, but everyone was really nice about it if it did.


    new perth online gallery

    Posted by campbell October 4th, 2010

    I have done the first wave of uploads to the new perth gallery. You can see the finished installation, paintings and a few close ups of works here.

    I’ll have more detailed shots up on wednesday when I get back to free range to take more shots.


    new perth

    Posted by campbell October 1st, 2010

    My exhibition, new perth, opened on the 25th of September as planned. Unfortunately, as unplanned, I was struck down by the mighty hand of pneumonia and was bed ridden, unable to attend. I just want to thank all of those who attended for their support, my family for all their assistance and most of all my incredible partner Elizabeth Marruffo. She has put up with so much during the creation of the show and then went beyond anything I could have hoped for at the last minute to pull it all together in my sickness.

    I will put up images of all the works next week, as well as more sketch book images.

    The exhibition will be open until the 24th of October, please check the free range website if you are planning on coming down to confirm our opening hours.


    new perth preview

    Posted by campbell September 20th, 2010

    Here is an early sample from one of my sketch books of new perth material.
    Originally the paintings were going to be more comicy, with panels and dialogue. The final show doesn’t follow through with this initial idea, but it might be something to explore in further exhibitions.

    I’d love for this project to expand in future shows, creating a strong narrative, defining events and “historical” figures. Including other artist would be something I’d be keen to do as well, once the idea is established well enough. So that more stories can be told from this fictional time line.


    new perth preview

    Posted by campbell September 14th, 2010

    Here are two previews from my upcoming exhibition “new perth“.
    The top is a selection from a larger work and the second is an entire painting.

    For this exhibition I’ve put together seven large linen paintings, a number of drawings a small sculpture and will be doing a wall work within the gallery. I’m really keen on this show encompassing a number of mediums and techniques. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve always admired artists whose work is equally successful in different mediums and I thought this exhibition would be a fantastic opportunity to stretch myself.

    It’s a bit of a daunting task, but I’m confident the works will all sit in the space well together.


    andre 3000 and haroldo

    Posted by campbell September 9th, 2010

    Here are the last two player characters from our Dungeons and Dragons game.

    Andre 300/Mescaline Jam is played by James Mac. He’s a Tiefling bard whose signature vicious mockery spell has killed at least one orc, I think one. I could be wrong, maybe it was a little less than one. We currently require that James actually comes up with some rap taunt to use when casting. Maybe one day we’ll go through the audio archive and pull out all the golden samples.

    Harry Eslick plays Haroldo, a human druid who was double crossed at the chapel and had his entire extended family slaughtered in the trap. He seems to be taking it all rather well though and is relaxing in a giant tree house somewhere right now. His signature move is the critical miss, which he has rolled on many a fine occasion.

    You can follow the adventures at Jimmerish FM download past episodes on itunes and check out the wiki.


    new perth

    Posted by campbell September 6th, 2010

    This September 25th I’ll be opening my latest exhibition at free range gallery, titled “new perth“. I’ve had this body of work playing in my head for a few years now and am really excited to be able to have the time and space to explore it.

    This large installation of paintings, drawing, wall works and sculptures documents a fictional artist led revolution through the streets of Perth, their occupation of architectural spaces and destruction of contemporary values. It’s all a riot of sex, ultra violence and mysticism that’s glorious propaganda for a ridiculous dream state.

    The show draws on my many frustrations with Perth, with being a creative practitioner, with being cast adrift in a sea of apathy, filled with hope and fear and anger. The Jazz Cellar, free range, Gas Works and the lack of studio spaces all pressing on the arts community. All in the shadow of the greatest economic boom this state has ever seen.

    There has always been a whine about Perth which I don’t want to add to. With the angelic glow of Melbourne and Sydney persistent on the horizon it’s often easier to make a your home elsewhere. Unless you feel that Perth is your home. The ground is unstable then, difficult to navigate, this body of work forges ahead with a plan. Foolish and bold and pig headed, as all desperate plans are.

    I’ll be posting new previews of works leading up to the show as well sketches and studio photos.


    bestiarum vocabulum

    Posted by campbell August 30th, 2010

    Two more critters. A stone sentry with an inset sapphire and a small bush creature.

    I imagine them having very course fur with large feathery protrusions around its tail and head. These would be in the shape and colour of a foliage type in its habitat. When resting or hiding it would curl the feathers around its body, little legs sticking out the bottom, looking like a shrub. If startled it would uncurl its feathers, revealing the violent colours within, vibrating them and running around. A herd of these guys would be amazing, disturbing what appears to be a lush pocket of greenery only to see it flee off in a burst of colour and chirping.


    comics committee

    Posted by campbell August 28th, 2010

    I have assembled a crack team of elite comics creators who meet (in)frequently to discuss our global conquest of all things comicy. This team includes (from left to right)

    Luke Milton
    Playwrite, comicwrite, blogwrite, writewrite and creator of the horribly offensive Bunnies Who Hate.
    Edward J Grug
    Disturbingly prolific comics machine with more finished comics and ongoing works than there are words.
    Jessica Mcloud
    Crafter of the cutest comics known to man and the deadliest woman with an excel spreadsheet in the world.

    Topics covered included.
    What’s this Scott Pilgrim thing?
    Floppy landscape books are gross.
    What colour was Luke’s lightsaber?
    Ninja is a big book.
    We like buying arts prints.
    Hurry up and make your comic already!

    The committee will commit again soon, with new hard and heavy (breathing) topics covered.
    Watch out!