The Steven Campbell Hunt Medal 2018.

The Steven Campbell Trust are delighted to announce that the 2018 recipient of the Hunt Medal for poetic creativity, is artist Nancy Dewhurst, Sculpture & Environmental Art Department, GSA, for her beautiful and evocative work ‘ Clepsydra’.

Nancy’s current artistic practice is focussed towards ‘time’ and different notions of this – geological time, ancient time, time dictated by labour, and punctuated by play. More broadly, her work is about systems (of which ‘time’ is one).

Trust directors had a wonderful afternoon at GSA, Trongate, looking at all Fine Art graduates’ work and having many illuminating and enriching conversations, which gave us much to consider. We were grateful for the invaluable assistance of Claire Paterson, GSA graduate and recent Steven Campbell Trust and Saltire Society New York Scholarship recipient, and our first Hunt Medal award winner in 2008. Many thanks also to Claire’s partner Brian McCluskey, writer and painter, who offered valuable insight and support.

We would also like to thank staff from GSA, particularly Fiona Robertson and John Quinn for their assistance and support and look forward to continuing our ongoing relationship.

Finally we would like to extend our warm congratulations to Nancy and wish her a successful and enriching career.

The Steven Campbell Trust

www.nancydewhurst.com

All images © Nancy Dewhurst 2018.

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Steven Campbell: Love

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Tue-Fri 12 – 5pm
Sat & Sun 12 – 6pm
CLOSED Mondays

PREVIEW: Friday 19 January, 7-9pm

Love is an exhibition of twelve large scale multi-media collages made between 1988 and 1991 by Steven Campbell, one of Glasgow’s most celebrated artists.

Campbell began the works on his return to Scotland in 1987 following a five year period of living and working in New York. The collages represent a little known, experimental  area of  Campbell’s practice which also includes clay, plaster and papier mache sculpture, drawing, printmaking and textile design.

While Campbell’s paintings were often executed with terrific speed – a canvas, he claimed, could be completed in five days – these large scale, predominantly two- dimensional collages were each made over a period of weeks, in part because of the laborious way in which the artist chose to work with material (hand painting and then adhering individual strands of string rather than painting once they were integrated into the collage). However the artist’s wife Carol Campbell has also attributed this change of a pace to a need for an activity to accompany a period of reflection and contemplation, a form of therapy through which Campbell could come to terms with the changes in his life following the family’s return from America.

Completed at the kitchen table, amid the rhythms of family life the resulting collages are testament to Campbell’s modest needs, his restless imagination and experimental nature but perhaps even more so to his sensitivity to the world around him. In these works we see a manifestation of the most powerful cornerstones of his life, his family, the natural world and his boundless imagination.

Love is curated by Linsey Young in collaboration with Tramway. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue including a new essay by Michael Bracewell, supported by Creative Scotland.

The Art of Steven Campbell 13 September 2017 – 21 October 2017

Marlborough Fine Art is pleased to present a retrospective of celebrated Scottish painter Steven Campbell. The show consists of a selection of works made between 1983 and his untimely death in 2007.

This major exhibition is a rare insight into the career of an artist who is considered to have pioneered the renaissance of Scottish art in the 1980s. It is the first major exhibition in London since his solo show at Marlborough Fine Art in 2009.

Best known for his monumental figurative paintings, Campbell’s unique works emerged from an array of personal and literary inspirations to create surreal narratives which offer Campbell’s comment on social and human conditions. His paintings often depict recurring characters in dream-like scenarios, which are full of humour and ironic historical references.

Campbell enrolled at Glasgow School of Art in 1978, studying installation and performance art, which became influences within his theatrical paintings. Towards the end of his studies, Campbell was awarded the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship and moved to New York in 1982 where he made an impression on the art scene, receiving acclaim for his thought-provoking works.

Campbell moved back to Glasgow in 1987, during this time his work became more expressive. As figurative painting became less fashionable in the 1990s, this proved a difficult period for Campbell and he started to experiment with different materials and themes within his work. Solemn undertones and dark irony became recurring themes, reflecting his own personal struggles during this period.

Despite the variations and changes within his practice over the years, Campbell’s works present a highly distinctive and original aesthetic, in an intelligent, powerful and a sometimes autobiographical style of painting.

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with an introduction written by novelist Michael Bracewell.

Besides several solo exhibitions in the USA in the 1980’s, Campbell also held exhibitions in Munich (1984), Geneva (1986), and Tokyo (1990). In 1990, the Third Eye Centre, Glasgow, organised a major touring exhibition of his work ‘On Form and Fiction’, which was seen in Oriel Mostyn, Llandudno; Marlborough Fine Art, London; Art Gallery, Aberdeen; Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester and Art Gallery, Southampton. His final major exhibition was The Caravan Club at Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh in 2002.

Campbell’s work can be found in major museums and public collections including; Arts Council of Great Britain (UK), Metropolitan Museum of Art (USA), Art Institute of Chicago (USA), Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (UK), and Tate Britain (UK).

 

http://www.marlboroughlondon.com/exhibitions/the-art-of-steven-campbell/

 

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Steven Campbell, Autumn No Happy time if you have a heartbeat, 2001-2002

The Steven Campbell Hunt Medal

We are delighted to announce that this years winner of the Hunt Medal is performance artist Tamara MacArthur, Glasgow School of Art.

The Trust finances the annual Steven Campbell Hunt Medal for a student artist of great promise and talent at the Glasgow Art School. This is open to application and nomination for the students who display Poetic Creativity and the recipients are chosen by Carol Campbell, Glasgow School of Art Staff and nominees of the Trustees and Advisors to the Trust.

We wish Tamara a successful career and hope she is pleased to join a strong line of previous recipients of our award.

 

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The Steven Campbell Trust Lecture 2017: Rimbaud Panel Discussion. 6th February 2017 CCA Glasgow

 

The Steven Campbell Trust Lecture 2017: Rimbaud Panel Discussion
6pm, Monday 6 February 2017 CCA Glasgow
On the occasion of the eighth annual Steven Campbell Trust Lecture, the Steven Campbell Trust were delighted to announce a panel of invited guests to discuss the enduring influence of 19th century French poet Arthur Rimbaud on popular culture.

The event was be chaired by Michael Pedersen, poet and co-founder of Neu! Reekie!
In essence an eclectic postmodernist, Campbell’s complex layered artworks reference multiple sources.

The iconic image of the young rebel poet Arthur Rimbaud is a recurring figure in Campbell’s paintings and drawings, poems such as ‘The Drunken Boat’ of 1871 were a vital source of inspiration.
Hailed by Patti Smith as “the first punk poet” the panel at the CCA, Glasgow included: poet and educator, Professor David Kinloch, University of Strathclyde; songwriter, poet and broadcaster Lach, a New Yorker in exile and founder of the Anti-Folk movement; and Scottish artist and flâneuse, Karen Strang.
The CCA event page: http://cca-glasgow.com/programme/steven-campbell-trust-lecture-2017-rimbaud
Facebook: The Steven Campbell Trust
Twitter: @SCampbellTrust

Ruth Inge Hardison

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Inge Hardison, left, in 1957, with a sculpture she donated to Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. Her daughter, Yolande, unveils the work, with the help of Martin R. Steinberg, hospital director (Credit Allyn Baum/The New York Times)

During my time in New York, I had the pleasure of meeting and working with many interesting and creative figure models, all of whom contributed to my collaborative myth-making project. One model who came to my studio to participate was Yolande Hardison, who truly entered into the spirit of the collaboration, working with another model called Daniel to create dynamic and theatrical scenes that I certainly couldn’t have conceived of alone. The 2 hour session in my studio with Yolande and Daniel was enormous fun, with lots of laughter and creativity.

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Yolande Hardison with a poster cataloguing some of her late mother Inge Hardison’s achievements

After our collaboration was over, Yolande told me a little bit about her mother, the late sculptor, photographer and actress Ruth Inge Hardison (you can see the two of them together in 1957, in the image at the top of this blog post). Yolande spoke about her mother’s work with such passion and enthusiasm, painting a vivid picture of what Inge Hardison was like as a person. Yolande is currently in the process of planning a book about her mother’s career, in which she hopes to provide insight into Inge Hardison’s life from the perspective of a daughter who loved her and knew her well – offering a different sort of reading experience to art books that tend to only focus on the professional, rather than the personal.

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Yolande’s apartment, packed with her mother’s art

A week after her modelling session, Yolande was kind enough to invite my boyfriend Brian and I to her apartment on the upper West side of Manhattan, where we were given the opportunity to see some of her mother’s work. The living room was packed with an array of sculptures from every stage of Inge Hardison’s career, the walls covered in her black-and-white photographs that beautifully captured the everyday lives of people in her community. As well as preserving and displaying her mother’s artwork, Yolande has started the time-consuming process of cataloguing articles and documents related to her mother’s life and art career.

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There are various online sources available in which you can find out more about Inge Hardison (links are provided at the bottom of this page), but I’ll give a brief overview of her life, so that you can see what a privilege it was to view such an extensive collection of her work, and find out what she was like as a person. The information below is quoted directly from the article, Inge Hardison at 100, A Century of Expression in Life and Art, by Alice Bernstein (http://iraaa.museum.hamptonu.edu/page/Inge-Hardison-at-100).

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‘Ruth Inge Hardison was born in Virginia in 1914.  Soon after her birth, her parents fled Jim Crow racism and segregation, settling in Brooklyn. After graduating from high school, she landed the role of “Topsy,” the enslaved child in the 1936 Broadway production of “Sweet River,” George Abbott’s adaptation of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Her portrayal of the slave girl whose brutal treatment doesn’t kill her wit and kindness won her rave reviews. She also appeared in “The Country Wife” with Ruth Gordon, and in the 1946 production of “Anna Lucasta,” co-starring with Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee.

‘In the midst of all this, Inge Hardison discovered clay and was swept by the beauty and power of this material coming from the earth and, with it, her own ability and passion to express herself in this art form. She is best known for a series of bronze busts, begun in 1963, of African Americans who fought slavery and led the struggle for civil rights, and who at that time had not yet been acknowledged in the National Hall of Fame in Washington, DC: Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, and Dr. Martin Luther King.

‘One sees palpably in her work her great respect for those who helped change history, as in her series, “Ingenious Americans,” which includes Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806) surveyor, clock-maker, mathematician; and Garrett Morgan (1877-1963), inventor of early traffic lights and gas masks. She also sculpted large public works: a life-size bronze, Mother and Child (her gift to Mt. Sinai Hospital in Manhattan after the birth of her daughter Yolande’.

Source: Inge Hardison at 100, A Century of Expression in Life and Art, by Alice Bernstein (http://iraaa.museum.hamptonu.edu/page/Inge-Hardison-at-100).

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As well as being inspired by Inge Hardison’s work, one of the things I found most personally touching about my trip to the apartment was hearing her daughter Yolande’s stories about her. Yolande showed Brian and I a lovely video taken during Inge Hardison’s 100th birthday celebration, at which her mother was able to give an inspiring and motivational speech, in spite of her Alzheimer’s, which at that stage in her life was very advanced. Yolande also read us a short story that she wrote about her mother – describing a trip they took together to a local park, which captures beautifully a fleeting moment in time, giving insight into the nature of their relationship. After hearing this story, I’m very much looking forward to reading Yolande’s book about her mother when it’s released.

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I was also very interested to learn that Yolande got into life modelling after being sculpted by her mother when she was just a little girl (see above image).

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Just before Brian and I left Yolande’s apartment, she very kindly gifted me a brooch, whose design is based on her mother’s sculpture of the abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sojourner_Truth), along with a typed copy of her own short story. These are wonderful mementos of my time in New York, which I’ll treasure along with my memories of seeing Inge Hardison’s work and legacy.

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To find out more about Inge Hardison, please follow the links below:

http://iraaa.museum.hamptonu.edu/page/Inge-Hardison-at-100

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/06/arts/design/inge-hardison-actress-and-sculptor-of-heroes-dies-at-102.html?_r=0

http://www.culturetype.com/2016/03/31/sculptor-inge-hardison-who-paid-tribute-to-african-american-legends-has-died/

http://naturallymoi.com/2016/04/why-we-should-remember-inge-hardison/

 

Steven Campbell: ‘Spider on the Window, Monster in the Land’

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Post written by Claire Paterson, recipient of the Steven Campbell New York Scholarship

In recognition of the fact that the Steven Campbell New York Scholarship was made possible by of the creative legacy of the artist himself, I’d like to talk about some of my favourite paintings of his over the next couple of weeks.

Steven Campbell’s work is complex and multifaceted, extensively referencing the history of art and philosophy in order to create his own distinctive narratives and mythology. Literature too served as an inspiration for Campbell, and though he would weave elements from various literary genres into his work, he was particularly drawn to the greats of the Gothic genre.

This nod to Gothic literature is apparent in one of my favourite Campbell paintings, Spider on the Window, Monster in the Land (above), a piece inspired by an Edgar Allan Poe story – a tale which, according to Campbell himself, ‘took its inspiration from a painting’ (source: p.83, The Paintings of Steven Campbell: The Story so Far, by Duncan MacMillan).

In Poe’s story, the protagonist looks through a window and sees a monster on the hill in the distance. Terrified, he looks again, realising that the monster is actually only a spider on the window.

This seems to be the case in Campbell’s painting too, but on closer inspection, it becomes apparent that the artist has complicated matters by placing figures in the landscape, fleeing in fear – a pictorial trick that raises the question: is the insect located on the web in the window, or is it enormous and chasing people through the landscape beyond the glass?

As the writer Duncan MacMillan says in his book on Campbell, the artist is investigating ‘different levels of painted space, and depths of narrative reality’ (p.83), an idea that’s reinforced by the symbolism featured in the piece.

One of the characters in Campbell’s painting holds a book, perhaps intended to make us think of the stories we often use to interpret our own reality. There are also mirrors spaced throughout the composition: alluding to the different artists throughout history who’ve used mirrors as pictorial devices intended to peel back and expose the illusions contained in the picture plane itself.

In Spider on the Window, there are two odd figures reflected in what appears to be a large mirror on the left of the central group. This device is reminiscent of the unconventional composition found within the painting Las Meninas (below), by the 17th century artist Velazquez, in which a mirror is used to explore the spatial relationship between the sitters and the artist himself.

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If we go by the position of the reflected figures in Spider on the Window, however, we see that they should be visibly situated in the very centre of the composition with their backs to us, standing between the seated figures and the mirror itself. Perhaps they could be ghosts or reverse-vampires in this scenario: reflected in the mirror, but invisible in the room itself. But this is only the case if we accept that the object is actually a mirror, and not in fact a further painting within the painting – an idea that would be supported by the shadow that falls across the object’s surface.

In the top left hand corner, we see another mirror – or possibly another painting – reflecting (or depicting) an insect scuttling across a landscape, making us even more aware that everything in this scene is illusion. This unsettling sense of artifice is further amplified by the inclusion of the strange, dislocated nudes, two of whom hold up hand mirrors that reflect nothing. Again, Campbell disorients with ambiguity, calling into question the painted reality he presents to us.

To quote Campbell himself here: ‘The flatness of the window is like the flatness of the canvas and the flatness of the mirrors. I painted the chairs and the women in the foreground flat to play with this idea of distance and flatness and what a canvas is.’

This painting is a wonderful example of the intricate games Campbell liked to play with perception – all the while exploring the language & sign systems we use to construct our understanding of the world around us.

Next week, I’ll be looking at the way in which Campbell used the character of Pinocchio to explore, in his own words, ‘what was the truth and what was lies in painting… a kind of play on what is honest art and what is untrue art.’

Sources used in this blog post: The Paintings of Steven Campbell: The Story So Far by Duncan MacMillan. If you’re wanting to find out more about the work of Steven Campbell, I’d highly recommend getting this Duncan MacMillan book, which looks at Campbell’s work in a great deal of depth. The book is available to purchase on Amazon.

In previous blog posts, I’ve also referenced the book ‘Steven Campbell: Wretched Stars, Insatiable Heaven’, by Kathy Chambers and Neil Mulholland (also available to order on Amazon)