For Art Basel Hong Kong, Anat Ebgi is pleased to announce START OVER PLEASE, a solo presentation of new works by Canadian artist Tammi Campbell.
Taking from her perspective, a decentered feminist lens, Campbell’s work dons the art historical canon as armature and challenge. The artist’s work notes how totemic male artists dominate institutional, collection, and market narratives, despite decades of powerful waves of decolonization and feminist critique.
The presentation is anchored by Campbell’s ‘in-process’ Ruscha text painting, “START OVER PLEASE.” Upon quick glance, the artist appears to have left masking tape on the canvas, but in reality it is another of her signature trompe l’oeil material transmutations. The tape itself is made from cast acrylic paint. Meanwhile the painting’s directive text dominates the picture encouraging close reconsideration of each of the works displayed. Start over, reexamine accepted narratives, begin anew.
Campbell’s practice starts with an extensive research period bordering on forensic. She dives deeply into the materials and processes of the artist she decides to appropriate. For instance, for the recreated Ruscha text drawings, the research led her to track down the actual deadstock paper from the 1970s and pastels he used in order to achieve an exactness, a precision. Each element is obsessively considered. Campbell will go as far as mimicking processes time, foxing, and sun fading before she proceeds to the final step: the wrapping.
The artist carefully “wraps” each work in acrylic paint that has been cast in molds to replicate bubble wrap, tape, and cardboard. Her ability to nearly replicate packing materials out of paint is alchemical. In addition to Ruscha, Campbell continues her investigation of other artists whose work she has learned to imitate, including Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, and Kenneth Noland. Each is shown with her material reconstructions: faux bubble wrap, cardboard, polywrap, and wood crates.
Campbell’s appropriative practice comes out of a long line of women artists, such as Sturtevant and Sherri Levine, who have employed appropriation to compelling ends. There is a nod to institutional critique in the desire to literally “package up” and put away these works into storage to make room for women or lesser recognized artists, while simultaneously unable to escape the visibility of the canon itself.
There is cheeky humor to Campbell’s works that raises questions about institutional structures, the canon, and systems of invisible labor used to validate those histories.
Tammi Campbell (b. 1974, Calgary, Alberta) received her BFA from the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon. Recent solo exhibitions include Exactly Wrong, MAKI Gallery, Tokyo; Boring Art, Anat Ebgi, Los Angeles, CA; and On View, Blouin Division, Montréal, QC. Campbell has also exhibited her work across Canada and the U.S. including Arsenal, New York, NY; Gavlak, Los Angeles, CA; Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, SK; Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Toronto, ON; and the Galerie de l’UQAM, Montréal, QC. She participated in the Canadian Biennale 2014 at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON, as well as the 30th International Symposium of Contemporary Art of Baie-St-Paul. In fall of 2023, Campbell will return to Los Angeles for her second solo exhibition at Anat Ebgi. Campbell lives and works in Montréal, Quebec.