The White Columns Curated Artist Registry is an online catalog of digital images documenting the work of artists who are not affiliated with a commercial gallery in New York City. Each submission is reviewed by our curatorial staff; in order to be considered for the registry, one must submit work digitally via this website.
Tammi Campbell’s art practice engages with the tradition of Modernist and Minimalist painting by referring, either explicitly or implicitly, to the legacies of Agnes Martin, Frank Stella, or Sol LeWitt, for example. Campbell humorously probes the specificity of the medium of painting and the fetishism of the creative process through paintings made in the style of trompe l’œil, but which appear to remain unfinished. Her “in progress” and “unfinished” aesthetic draws upon various materials and peripheral activities that are specific to the art world, and which contribute to a deep questioning of the value attributed to painting and to the artist’s craft. In fact, her work tends to generate both anticipation and confusion, and nullifies the usual analytical codes inherent in the act of contemplating an artwork.
In her series Work in Progress, Campbell simulates masking and painters tape, and effectively imitates the process of creating geometric, hard edge abstract paintings. Often presented flat on the surface of a worktable, these pieces transpose a moment in the studio into the space of the gallery. In Paper series, the potential of the white page is left untouched, as no pictorial element can be detected on its surface until one realizes that the page itself is made entirely of paint. In her most recent series, created for her exhibition New Works at Galerie Hugues Charbonneau, the artist recreates various packing materials in the style of trompe l’œil from a mixture of acrylic-based mediums: corrugated cardboard, clear plastic wrap, bubble wrap, packing tape, etc. As a result, these paintings, much like the works in Paper series, more closely resemble a kind of three-dimensional painting akin to sculpture.
Since October 2010, Tammi Campbell has meticulously developed her Dear Agnes letter/drawing series, during which she composes a letter to Agnes Martin, Canadian pioneer of abstract painting. Hundreds of letters present an infinite array of straight grids traced out in pencil on Japanese paper. Like an act of homage, this daily studio ritual constitutes a gesture of understanding and connection through which Campbell silently communicates with Martin through the metaphoric use of the latter’s geometric vocabulary.