Anat Ebgi is proud to announce Boring Art, the first Los Angeles solo exhibition for Canadian artist Tammi Campbell. The exhibition will be on view from September 7th through October 26th.
For this exhibition, Campbell reproduced iconic works by Ellsworth Kelly, Frank Stella, Josef Albers, John Baldessari, and Ed Ruscha. Her selection reflects the creation of a personal index, rather than a cohesive art historical narrative. Ranging from hard-edge abstraction to Los Angeles conceptualism to shaped canvases and color studies, the works are unified through similarities in technical production, ubiquity in private and museum collections, and formal serialization within each artist’s practice.
Campbell’s method for penetrating the male-dominated canon hinges on an enormous amount of research that allows her to technically and truthfully replicate each work. The results of which are perfect stand-ins for their respective originals. Her visible additives, whether bubble wrap, tape, or leaving some element undone, tends to generate both “a-ha” excitement and confusion. A closer look at the paintings shows that the protective bubble wrap and tape are in fact an illusion—trompe l’oeil painting taken to its hyperrealistic extreme—the materials are cast completely from acrylic paint medium. Campbell’s intervention suspends viewers in a perpetual state of anticipation and prevents us from entering a true work of art.
The gesture of covering these works emphasizes the preciousness of the goods they contain, while simultaneously highlighting the frequently invisible network of art world laborers, art handlers, shippers, registrars, studio assistants, etc. who support and care for them as they circulate. The coverings also obscure the originals and draw our attention to their fixed state of transition.
The exhibition title is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the John Baldessari piece I Will Not Make Boring Art (1971) commissioned by the Novia Scotia College of Art & Design in Halifax, Canada. Unable to fund his own trip to Canada for the exhibition, Baldessari proposed a pedagogical “punishment piece” that student-volunteers would enact in his place by repeatedly writing the phrase “I will not make boring art” on the walls of the gallery throughout the duration of the show.
The late 60s and early 70s marked an important shift in Baldessari’s art making. In 1970, he cremated his entire body of early work, all abstract paintings, and deposited the ashes in an urn. This act demonstrated his commitment to new forms of art making and resulted in his foray into text and language based paintings. Similarly, Campbell is concerned with memorializing art history, while also making a break from it. Her work literally envelopes, secures, and mummifies historical paintings; it asks viewers to ponder what is valued and allows us to imagine making room for something new. Full of contradictions, Campbell’s work pays homage to the past, while simultaneously taking it hostage.
Tammi Campbell (b. 1974) holds a BFA from the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon. Over the past ten years, Campbell has shown in solo and group exhibitions across Canada and the U.S. including at Arsenal, New York (2019); the Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon (2015); the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Toronto (2014); the Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina (2013); Mercer Union, Toronto (2013); and the Galerie de l’UQAM, Montréal (2013). She has also participated in the Canadian Biennale 2014 at the National Gallery of Canada, in Ottawa, as well as the 30th International Symposium of Contemporary Art of Baie-St-Paul. Campbell lives and works in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.