OHWOW is pleased to announce an exhibition of new work by Scott Campbell. In his first solo show in New York, titled ‘If You Don’t Belong, Don’t Be Long’, Campbell presents a series of his trademark cut currency work and three-dimensional pieces, alongside prints and hologram paintings. The show is opening on the night of Thursday 29th April 2010 at 109 Crosby Street, New York. His subject matter and iconography translate blue-collar grit and the lore of tattoo culture. Although communicating with this lowbrow parlance, he delivers work that is supremely defined, deliberate, and meticulously executed.
Campbell continues his investigation of recontextualizing money through his cut stacks of one-dollar bills; he transforms actual currency into elaborate bas-reliefs. By cutting each dollar, individually, then arranging them into 100-dollar stacks, he creates highly detailed pieces depicting decorative images or ornamental text, resembling ornate filigree work. In essence, he destroys to create. Two works-a human skull, an anatomical heart-take this process to an even more ambitious level. The stacks are no longer limited to 100 bills, here he uses three stacks piled 500 high, a volume enabling him to produce three-dimensional sculptures. With his most recent series, Campbell switches to using layered sheets of uncut currency, pulled from the mint before cut into individual bills. Whereas the stacks are engaging due to their handling and intimate size, these pieces have a crisp, refined quality, inherent because of the material, they are also more commanding given the larger scale. One piece is an intricate Day of the Dead style skull, while another recreates a life-sized Grim Reaper. There is an opposition present between the medium and the effigy-a pristine material portrays a morbid subject. The imagery alludes to mortality, yet sculpted from the currency with which we trade our time and energy.
Along with the currency series, Campbell will exhibit a collection of hologram paintings-using a unique process-that resemble chipped carnival mirrors or nicotine stained rainbows. The imagery borrows from working-class escapism, and Campbell is fluent with this dialect. Additionally, he will exhibit a collection of etchings printed from copper plates “tattooed” in the same manner as actual skin. One piece carefully renders a cigarette smoking vagina, another a long-stem rose. What the two dimensional work shares with the cut currency is a specific vernacular, as they also disclose a fastidious nature and display the artist’s ability to capture zeitgeist. The work pays homage to the thousands of stories Campbell has committed to flesh in an eloquent narrative of hopes and distractions. This exhibition exemplifies Campbell’s mastery of his imagery, highlights our complicated relationship with money, and reveals his continued concern with the human condition.
Scott Campbell’s work has been featured in exhibitions at Macro Future Gallery, Rome, Italy; The Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Centre, Athens, Greece; The Massimo Carasi Gallery, Milan, Italy; Colette, Paris, France; Moeller Snow Gallery, New York, and OHWOW during Art Basel MB.