My work addresses a central paradox: so many of the images we surround ourselves with are somehow derived from the natural world from which we are distant if not oblivious.
Botanical decorative motifs commonly printed onto manufactured consumer products like paper towels, place mats, plastic bags - the detritus of our culture- are the main sources from which my imagery is drawn. The motifs I use are from objects that pretty much anyone can own and will likely end up in a landfill. A specific, highly recognizable example of such a motif is the flower shaped non-slip sticker sometimes found on bathtub and shower floors.
In my paintings and drawings, these found, generic motifs, recognizable or not- are organized into scenarios that create new relationships through placement, shifts in palette and the play of space and movement. Sometimes I repeat the motif obsessively, other times I mix a few of them up and experiment with scale and other elements to suggest alternative spaces.
My compositions are inspired and triggered by the content and spatial configurations of the visual world around me both high and low. Art history is a great source of inspiration, as is design, advertising, animation etc. -everything has its possibilities. In my use of these elements and influences, I position the images within a fantastical state of nature, mirroring the tension between the 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