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Jessica Campbell

A Beautiful Woman Eating a Spinach and Artichoke Dip Quesadilla 

Curated by Jacob Rhodes

Opening Reception: September 12th, 6-8

Dates: September 12th - October


For A Beautiful Woman Eating a Spinach and Artichoke Dip Quesadilla, Jessica Campbell has created an installation cataloguing the convergence of multiple histories: painting, craft, weaving, posters, wallpaper, quilting, cartooning, photography and personal narrative. Building off of an ongoing research project on historical feminist figures and collectives, this group of works draws on personal as well as historical memory and combines them to create compositions referencing traditional painting subject matter. Campbell utilises material born out of a craft tradition; collaged carpet referencing latch hook rug aesthetics. Thus, Campbell terms these “carpet paintings.”  

Drawing on the Bed depicts a personal memory surrounding an ink filled coffee cup. In this dramatic carpet painting a white and brown cup spills out a mass of black ink, overturned by a cat who leaps over an overwhelming patterned ground. This motif references “crazy quilting” a technique which utilizes any material at hand resulting in an irregular design. The contorted perspective in this piece is further confounded by the irregularity of the bedspread, which dominates the overall composition. Interrupting the Vouillardian color palette, a pair of yellow sneakers and blue legs emerge from the bottom edge of Drawing on the Bed, indicating that the audience experiences the scene from the artist’s personal perspective. Yet, the bed looms upward, the window extends away and we (as viewers) see a glimpse of Campbell’s memoir from both within, outside, and above her experience. 

Perspective is mediated by history, aesthetics, and memory, but its reading is also heavily reliant on class signifiers. Jessica Campbell recalls that her Grandmother’s house was one of her first impressions of middle class trappings. Dusty terracotta orange shag carpet lined the floors and came to define her developing aesthetic parameters. The works composing A Beautiful Woman Eating a Spinach and Artichoke Dip Quesadilla explore the multifaceted nature of perspective through conflating and combining personal and historical narratives, distorting and confusing the audiences’ point of view, and by adopting the materiality of carpet. 

Jessica Campbell is a Canadian visual artist and cartoonist currently based in the midwest, working in comics, fibres, painting and drawing. She has had previous solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago); Western Exhibitions (Chicago); and Laroche/Joncas (Montreal, QC), in addition to other institutions. She has been included in group exhibitions at the Hamilton Art Gallery (Hamilton, ON, Canada); ICA Baltimore (Baltimore, MD); moniquemeloche (Chicago, IL); Owens Art Gallery, Mount Allison University (Sackville, NB, Canada) and others. She is the author of the graphic novels Hot or Not: 20th Century Male Artists (2016) and XTC69 (2018), both published by Koyama Press. Campbell has a BFA from Concordia University (Montreal, QC) and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.