Artist Statement: Having spent many years outside of Canada in places including Grand Cayman Island, Germany, and Japan, my paintings and illustrations are a fusion of my experiences with the people, the art, and the customs of these locations as well as my adventures across Canada and my love of nature.
I have a strong interest in human connections, how we relate with each other, and our relationship with the natural world. Issues surrounding the environment and consumer culture are of great importance to me and it is a goal to create works that will help to start conversations and bring awareness to these subjects. Concepts of acceptance, inclusion, and compassion are important to me and figure prominently in my work. I attempt to achieve this in an often light-hearted, colourful, and sometimes humorous way.
I am frequently asked if my figurative work is Indigenous. My black outlining of figures and my imagined creature’s eyes remind viewers of Norval Morrisseau and the Anishinaabe Woodland style. The short answer is no, I am not intentionally painting in the Woodland style nor am I attempting to depict legends of any First Nation peoples. My figurative work is much like automatism where I let my unconscious take control and the figures emerge out of random lines painted on the canvas.
The long answer is yes and no. I do have a small amount of First Nations heritage in my family. However, I can not, and do not claim to be First Nations. I did not experience Aboriginal culture (or discrimination) growing up. My father has repeatedly told the story of “Big Jack Campbell” coming down from the mountain (Eskasoni First Nation in Cape Breton), and of the time he fled in fear from his elementary classroom when the missionary came to visit. Beyond that, and a few other hints, we have yet to determine out who we are and where exactly we come from (we also have relatives in Western Canada). I do feel a very strong connection to First Nations culture – ideas, art and music – and for this I am grateful.
My abstract paintings belong to a series called “Chaos Theory” and refer (loosely) to the concept that all things in this world are connected – that even a very small change can result in dramatic effects over distance and time. The paintings are deconstructions of elements in nature, its wildlife, landscapes, sky and water. Colours are scattered and layered repeatedly and then heavily outlined to create a cohesive whole. Ultimately, these paintings are a kind of “meditative wish” – a wish for a humankind that reflects carefully on its choices; a humankind with a resolute awareness that even the smallest steps in a different direction, could, over time, change everything.
Birdlandia.ca – I’ve been sketching little birds for quite a while. Sometimes these sketches become paintings but recently they have made their way into Procreate software on my iPad Pro where I make digital drawings. The response to these little drawings has been so great that I took the advice of several viewers and began creating the series now known as Birdlandia.
Birdlandia is a work in progress but the main themes include compassion, kindness, cooperation, forgiveness, and the environment. Oh, and just plain fun too!”
In 2009, I created the art blog Daily Art Fixx. It was here that I began studying art history and contemporary art, for inspiration and education. These studies influenced and continue to influence my own work. Specific movements and artists I connect with (but not limited to) include primitivism, cubism (Picasso, Chagall), First Nations art (Morrisseau, Odjig, Janvier), expressionism (Kirchner, Schiele), abstract expressionism (de Kooning, Pollock), neo expressionism (Basquiat) and automatistism (Riopelle).
Since 2010, I have resided in Ontario, namely, Toronto, Cambridge and currently Hamilton. A selection of my work can be found at Nest Hamilton and Cedar Lake Studios in Cambridge Ontario. Check my events page for a listing of art fairs and markets. Most works are available to purchase online at wendycampbell.shop.
From 2012 – 2017, I was the Co-Chair of the Cambridge Arts Festival – an annual celebration of music, performance, visual arts, and community in the City of Cambridge. In 2017, I founded CAF Collective, a group of Cambridge-based artists that collaborated to create a live large-scale art installation and printmaking workshop on July 22, 2017 as part of Cambridge Arts Festival. An exhibition of our individual works were also on display in July at a pop-up gallery at 63 Dickson Street in Cambridge.