Fri 15 Sep 2023 to Sat 14 Oct 2023
Artist: Tomo Campbell
Private view: Thursday 14 September, 6pm-9pm
"When I'm painting - all past works that have come before lead up to up a painting in the present - the process is determined by quick decisions coming from an unknown yet somehow familiar place. As I paint I begin to glimpse of how the future paintings could be and create new pathways for the works to start manoeuvring towards." - Tomo Campbell
Cob Gallery presents Spitting Feathers - the third solo gallery exhibition for British artist Tomo Campbell that compounds his restless artistic investigation into the act of painting itself.
The exhibition culminates with the display of largest of Campbell's works to date - a painting spanning four metres in length and presented as a monumental installation in the gallery.
It is a concept of collision that emerges as a driving force behind Campbell's practice - describing his paintings as 'smashing worlds together' - a fusion of the past, present and future. His paintings shape-shift between abstraction and figuration - they pulsate between chaos and harmony; hard and soft; vivid and translucent delicacy and immediacy. Similarly, Campbell's recurring motifs, details and observations from sources including Old Master paintings, antiquity, medieval tapestry contemporary and early modern artists both appear and disappear in ambiguous perspective created by hazes of colour and line.
These collisions extend to Campbell's application of paint - where his motifs float and flicker between opaque colour blocks and delicate Indian ink washes. Extracting motifs and details from previous works to inform the new, Campbell's painting language can be compared to that of collage revelling in the absurdity and consequence of removing something from its original context and giving a potential of new meaning. This extends to both the titles of the works and indeed the title of the show. "'Spitting feathers' to me is about taking something out of context and looking at it again, I know spitting feathers originally means to be angry about something, but whenever I've heard that turn of phrase it sounds so colourful and vibrant, like someone's producing bright colour in an uncontrollable way"
The new suite of paintings are bound together by Campbell's overarching objective - that his entire oeuvre is to be viewed as one continuous dialogue. Details from older paintings appear like bore out excavations within the new work. Campbell encourages that we view all his paintings in snowball effect - a rolling conversation in both theme, motif style - where his archive expands, contracts informs and reciprocates in both colour and form one to the next. From this standpoint, it is arguable that Campbell's painting practice can compared to a stream of consciousness narrative technique. With a non linear approach - Campbell retains a desire to distance himself from any narrative potential in the works "I like to keep the paintings feeling open ended - like a short story or novella that sets a scene and a mood as opposed to a full circle closed ended Novel with all the ends tied up."