statement /bio

My work reflects a personal fascination with a central paradox of our contemporary condition. In our day-to-day experience, so many of the images we consciously and subliminally surround ourselves with are somehow derived from the natural world. However, as our pace of life quickens, and priorities pull our focus elsewhere, we become increasingly distant, detached, and often oblivious to the wild places and things we once valued so deeply.

I believe there is inspiration to be found in our collective response to this conundrum. Manufactured consumer products like paper towels, place mats, plastic bags – the detritus of our culture – commonly incorporate botanical decorative motifs, and are the main sources from which my imagery is drawn. One such example of these motifs is the flower shaped, non-slip mat found on bathtub and shower floors across the world.

In my paintings and drawings, found, generic (and often abstracted) motifs are organized into scenarios that create new visual and psychological relationships through placement and shifts in palette. The compositions themselves are inspired and triggered by the content and spatial configurations of the visual world around me. In my use of these elements and influences, the images are positioned within a fantastical state of nature, mirroring the tension between the human demands and transience of modern life and the endurance of the natural world.

Ellen Campbell’s paintings have been featured in solo and group exhibitions at galleries and cultural centers in Brooklyn, Minneapolis, Iowa and Chicago. Campbell is also the recipient of numerous awards and honors including Yaddo and Ucross Foundation artist residencies. In addition, her work is in many private and corporate collections. Ellen Campbell received her M.F.A. from the University of Chicago and her B.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design. She lives, works and teaches in Chicago.

cv/resume available on request