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Jan 18, 2014  ·  2 min read

By Andrew Frost

There’s an art world aphorism that states, every artist who uses text eventually gives it up.  As to why that might be is uncertain, but for the most part it’s mostly true. Adam Cullen gave up text only paintings for bushrangers and animals whereas Robert McPherson valorises roadside signage in a sequence of works that appears never ending. Emily Floyd’s word sculptures meanwhile are far more ambiguous than didactic and Tom Polo has embarked on textless figures and blobs.  Jon Campbell, however, keeps the flag quite literally flying, and his latest show Bewdyful marks out his conceptual territory.

Campbell’s enamel on board paintings immortalise the transience of language, those figures of speech and verbal space fillers used as signals to initiated: I’m not racist but… [2013] floats sh*t-brown letters over a blue and pink background, while Sunshine [2013], Paris [2013] and Herbert’s Pies/For Lease [2103] are fragments of the Australian suburban landscape painful and hilarious in their familiarity. Campbell has a penchant for the song title [eg, Love Will Tear Us Apart – Again] and the repurposed found object. Taken together, Campbell’s paintings like those of his peers and followers are a picture of the here and now as sure as any figurative painting, and just as bewdyful.

Until October 26

Darren Knight Gallery, Waterloo

Pic: Jon Campbell, BEWDYFUL, 2013. Enamel paint, plywood, 20x40cm.

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