On display this week at the Brooklyn Artists Gym, through Saturday, "Amateur" is the first solo art show from emerging artist, Andrew Campbell. Through a variety of mixed media, including paintings and other works on paper and canvas, "Amateur" examines the female image as portrayed on social media websites, looking at how women portray themselves on-line, as well as how they may be portrayed and/or viewed by others. Campbell's figures in this show depict interchangeable female personas and (mis)perceptions of beauty, sexuality and vulnerabilty, and call to mind a Lichtenstein-esque pop art style.
More and more frequently on social media websites, such as facebook and myspace, women, perhaps unaware of how others will view them (or perhaps excited by it), seem to let fall any boundaries in the images they post of themselves on-line. Often displaying a distinct air of provocativeness and come-hither sexual prowess, women invite internet voyeurs to exploit these images.
Campbell uses this concept of internet voyeurism in his art in "Amateur," and seems to ask viewers to consider when beauty, lust, and a desire for attention become vile, or even violent. Campell has said of "Amateur" that it is "a commentary on how the internet has shaped our lives. We are exposing so much of ourselves we may as well be exposing ourselves."
As one views each piece, he or she is left wondering whether the women can sense their own destructibility. Look closely, as in most of the works in this show, there are two female figures juxtaposed with each other, and it is not always clear where one image ends and the other begins. There appears to be a subtle (or not so subtle) suggestion that the more sexualized images leave the women without any real sense of identity, while the less provocative, albeit still corrupted images, have more clear identifying features.
Campbell is inspired by arists like Francis Bacon, Jean Michel Basquiat, and, in his own words, little chocolate donuts (as long as they are gluten free). While acknowledging that his artistic style is complex and varied, he notes that his brush stroke style resembles early abstract expressionists such as Willem de Kooning or Mark Rothko. To create his artwork, he may combine media including oil paints, enamel, permanent marker, newspaper and magazine pages, coffee grounds, pencil, glue and wood, and many of these media can be found in his works in "Amateur."
Campbell has a BFA in Illustration from the Savannah College of Art and Design, and an M.S. in Childhood Education from Fordham University. He has designed artwork for specialty grocery store, Trader Joe's, NYC-based indie rock band, Juicy Bruce, and LA-based alt rock band, Lido Beach, among others. He hopes that shows like "Amateur" will pave the way for future exhibitions at museums and galleries worldwide.
"Amateur" can be seen at Brooklyn Artists Gym, 168 7th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenue, dial #35 at the door) in Park Slope. The show runs through this Saturday, August 6, and is available for viewing between 11am and 6pm. There will also be a reception on Saturday evening from 6pm to 9pm, when the artist will be present to answer questions, and food and drink will be served.
All pieces are for sale. Inquire about prices at the front desk.