JAMAICAN ARTIST/*/ Charles Campbell



Charles Cambpell (C) Rochart

Charles Campbell is one of the most prominent of his generation of Jamaican contemporary artists. He has exhibited widely in North America, the Caribbean and Europe, representing Jamaica in events such as the Santo Domingo Biennial, touring exhibitions in the USA and international festivals.

Born in Jamaica in 1970 Campbell moved with his family to PEI Canada in 1975. After completing his BFA at Concordia University, Montreal he returned to Jamaica in 1993 and quickly established himelf at the forefront of Kingston’s burgeoning art scene. Campbell became recognised for the “intense emotional impact” of his imagery and “a certain ascetic, cerebral detachment” to his work. He was also acclaimed as an insightful critic and tutor, writing art commentary and reviews for the national papers and teaching drawing and painting at the Edna Manley College.

In 1997 Campbell went to the UK for an artist’s residency in South London and, after a brief return to Jamaica, moved to London in 1998 to do his MA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, University of London. After completing his MA Campbell stayed in London and worked on numerous projects. In 2002 he returned to Canada. He now lives in Victoria BC and devides his time between working for an environmental organisation, raising his two children and working on his painting.


Artist Charles Campbell (C)

Artist’s Statement

My practice has been primarily concerned with mapping and questioning the relationship between meaning and image, particularly as they relate to my personal and cultural background.  I use painting both as a tool to examine my understanding of the world and to transcend it.

The iconography in my current work can generally be broken down into a few recurrent motifs: Historical images, slave ships, Mandala’s, the ocean and flocks of birds…  These all carry personal meanings and/or refer to larger cultural mythologies. A diagram of how slaves were cargoed during the middle passage, a shorthand for historical episodes of human suffering, forms one of the central images of my recent work. By repeatedly reflecting and rotating this image it is transformed into intricate geometric patterns, knots & mandalas.

On the canvas the intention is not to create a clear narrative from the iconographic or symbolic reading of these elements, but rather to push and pull at how these meanings naturalise themselves on the images.  For this purpose the visual language of pattern and symmetry, order and randomness is employed.  The nature of the type of pattern used becomes its own vehicle for meaning and may either conform to or contradict the meaning applied to what the image signifies. The tension that exists between these two very distinct types of readings energises the work and produces enigmas out of mere paint and canvas.

Information from the site-:http://charlescampbellart.com/

Charles Campbell (C) Snake