L.A. Louver is pleased to present Romancing the Apocalypse, an exhibition of new paintings by Los Angeles-based artist, Rebecca Campbell.
Our times demand that we embrace paradox. In response, instead of parsing out the incompatible, my experiment is the opposite. I seek the radiant, the abject, deliverance and damage in concert. These paintings are a manifesto for rapture, in spite of, or even in debt to, the abyss.
Rebecca Campbell’s new body of work is a meditation on extremes. Her subjects are drawn from both nature: the ephemeral light of rainbows and the radiance of young girls, and the man-made: the spectacular light of fireworks and the power of the atomic bomb. As Campbell states, “The paint needed to be fierce, lean and fresh. I try to understand the atomic blast through heat, light, obliteration and full spectrum doom. I try to understand the rainbow through the mud it arcs against, suspension of pigment in oil, and a utopia flickering in and out of cliché. I try to know a woman’s beauty as much from a window through her skin as from the shine of her mouth.”
Campbell captures the energy of her subjects using broad, sweeping brushstrokes, and a rich, varied palette, in over a dozen, smaller-scale paintings (no larger than 20 x 12 inches). These singular subjects, are accompanied by two large paintings (4 x 8 feet and 5 x 7 feet), each of which explores a complex psychological drama and extremes of sensory experience. In one, a young woman sits in a half-filled bathtub, fully clothed and holding a cake decorated with a spider’s web. She is attired in a silky dress of fiery hues that seems to melt in the water; her eyes are fixed on something unseen by the viewer; her expression is neutral. An open window shows a mountain on fire in the distance. Campbell states: “Perhaps it is precisely because the mountain is on fire that the charged water of the bath is such comfort. It is the expense of the dress that makes its ruin sweet dulce de leche. It is the reverie of looking away that allows one to absorb the gravity of the catastrophe.”