Tammi Campbell: Abstraction and Empathy
April 30 – September 5, 2016
Tammi Campbell’s first solo museum exhibition Abstraction and Empathy draws its title from Wilhelm Worringer’s seminal 1908 text of the same name. The Saskatoon-based artist continues her investigation of trompe l’oeil techniques, moving from simulations of masking tape and paper to a range of materials more typically associated with the wrapping and packing of paintings—polyethylene plastic, bubble wrap and cardboard. Through the simulation of materials, Campbell not only regrounds abstract art in its materiality, but exposes the vulnerability of painting as an object in the world, creating fresh opportunities for empathetic identification and emotional engagement. Worringer’s argument, that naturalism in art most purely expresses an empathetic relationship to the world, is inverted in this investigation of abstraction’s potential for intimacy.
Delicately poised between critique and tribute, Campbell’s paintings and drawings walk softly amidst the modernist legacy of twentieth century abstraction. Born in Calgary and raised in Moose Jaw, Campbell is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan and has attended artists’ workshops at Emma Lake. In both her “masking tape” works, which reference Frank Stella, and Dear Agnes drawings, which pay homage to Agnes Martin, Campbell offers a feminist reading of modernist art history through an open-ended, material re-enactment of the work of some of its foundational figures. With her most recent work, reference points are extended to a broader consideration of the painting as object and histories of minimalism.
Organized by the MacKenzie Art Gallery with the support of Canada Council for the Arts, SaskCulture, Saskatchewan Arts Board, City of Regina, and University of Regina.
Opening Weekend Programs
Friday, April 29
6:00 PM: Members’ Preview
7:00 PM: Public Opening and Remarks
Saturday, April 30
2:00 PM: Artist-Led Tour of Abstraction and Empathy with Tammi Campbell