Artwork: Peter Campbell looks afresh at a body of watercolour paintings that have already had one public life: as covers of the London Review of Books. Working as designer for the magazine from its very first edition in 1979, from 1993–2011 Campbell was the cover artist as well, producing over 400 illustrations which have for a generation of readers visually defined the publication. As resident art critic, he was also its most prolific contributor throughout this time.
An apparently suspended paper dart, a solitary shoe in the spotlight, an assortment of fruit poised between still life and geometric pattern; something is often about to happen in these pictures, but it is the always activity of the eye that is most important. Ordinary things are handled tenderly, sometimes strangely: birds’ eggs laid out across a white ground are like so many elliptical moons; a big top apparently in the middle of nowhere glows like a year of parties all at once.
The exhibition brings together 36 paintings from across the period, acknowledging their other life—as images that exist before and beyond the relatively brief currency of the fortnightly review. Occupying the front of an independent magazine dedicated to the literary essay they offered a link between the mind, the reading and the viewing eye: pictures relating in some way to words about books, through simple proximity if nothing else. Separate from it, they freewheel into new territory, making us think about the connection between the observant eye and the eye of the mind.
The exhibtion will also be held at Gus Fisher Gallery, The Auckland University, from 6 July–10 August 2013
Resources & Links
Publications & Links
- Mary-Kay Wilmers remembers Peter Campbell
- Peter Campbell on arriving in England
- Peter Campbell's Obituary
- About Peter Campbell's Writing
- Peter Campbell's memories of New Zealand
- 'Artwork: Peter Campbell', catalogue essay by Abby Cunnane