Rachel Campbell is originally from New Zealand, and has been living in the USA since 2003. She studied art in both New Zealand and Canada, and has also spent time living and exhibiting in the UK and Germany. Her work is in private and public collections in over a dozen countries.
I think of my work as similar to that of a poet who writes about the everyday, but instead of words, I am using paint. I engage in narratives. I’m reflecting on stories I have been told or experiences I have had, often with a sense of playfulness around things that are common and ordinary. My paintings are landscapes, even if depicting portraits of objects, they are all a landscape to me. I paint about the relationships between elements and our relationship to these images.
My work has a central recurring theme—the need to belong, for community, to feel understood, to be seen and accepted. I am particularly drawn to trailers and trailer parks, which are repetitive or generic in design, but individual in presentation. As a metaphor, I see them representing the desire we have to be valued as individuals, to create beauty in sometimes small ways. They describe to me that none of us wants to be marginalized or overlooked. Some trailer paintings are abandoned, strewn with leftover belongings, melancholically suggesting a past mystery. I want to draw the viewer into wanting to know more of the stories that lay behind those walls. To know more about the people who have lived in them.
Color is a critical component to my work. I am a colorist, and I constantly work on exploring the relationships of colors, the emotive effect of color, the temperature of color. Color is a very important consideration for me in the stories I am describing. I use paint in degrees of thickness, from gestural washes alongside thick describing paintwork pulling focus to the central elements of my story. I use abstraction of space and elements along with more rendered portions of the paintings.