‘Escapology’ crowns the Northern Stage building, ‘Detour at Four Lane Ends’ animates the façade of the multi-storey car park and, in collaboration with Miles Thurlow, she asks us to question the world around us with the work ‘No No No No No’ that graces five archways of the railway viaduct next to the Tyne Bridge.
Yes. That’s Cath Campbell – and her first solo exhibition ‘Ideal Mexico’ opened at The Workplace Gallery in Gateshead last month. On the opening night Campbell explained why the creation of the delicate collages ‘Hotel Series’ was the springboard for the exhibition:
“I was looking through travel guides of hotels in cities all across the world and I noticed that the same colour schemes had been used in the interior design of every one. It struck me as interesting – and slightly odd. That’s where it started…”
At first glance the collages looked like tiny constellations of stars but their meaning lay deep beneath their shapes. Each dot of colour was placed on white paper in exactly the same layout as the original photograph and in each collage only one blue, one yellow, two browns, and a black circle were selected. The titles of the works, ‘The Skylofts, MGM, Las Vegas, 2012’, ‘Superior Room, Melrose Arch Hotel, Johannesburg, 2012’, ‘Suite 105, Art Hotel Corona D’oro, Bologna,, 2012’ hinted at cities filled with exoticism and glamour and yet ‘Hotel Series’ revealed locations within these cities that are as uniform the world over as a fast food restaurant.
In stark contrast to these delicate collages Campbell created a series of dramatically enlarged found images which were UV printed onto powder coated aluminium, titled ‘For I have known them all already, known them all # 1-6.’
The images, which hung in the first room of the gallery, drew the eye like a series of giant Polaroid pictures, their crisp white borders like the edges of some giant glossy magazine clarified and highlighted by the removal of the majority of each of the images.
“Cutting away the photograph like that made the work more architectural. I know what was there – but someone seeing it now doesn’t know – although they might feel that the space is ‘familiar’. The size means that the pixels of the original image have been blurred and made more abstract. The light seems watery… and I was interested in that – in the painterly margin that was left behind.”
Campbell’s exhibition worked on many levels: it played with our understanding and our interpretation of the world we live in. It was thought provoking and that is always a good thing.
by Katherine Wildman © 2012
Katherine Wildman is a copywriter who helps UK companies to get their message across in writing. From websites to sales letters, brochures to leaflets – if you want copy that makes your customers want to use you then get in touch with Katherine today at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter @copywriterne or call her on 07816 763 393.