Since the dawn of man, the art of storytelling has been a part of our complex matrix. It is tribal, communal, connects the generations, and humanizes our past. In the current the Inside-OUT Gallery exhibit by featured artist, John Campbell, these tales become reality. Displayed in a dynamic visual spectacle, the viewer is transported to another place—a time when legends dominated our realm.
As Joseph Campbell once said (another notable Campbell): “Myths and dreams come from the same place. They come from realizations of some kind that then have to find expression in symbolic form….. Myth must be kept alive. The people who can keep it alive are the artists of one kind or another.”
The pastoral scenes of John Campbell’s installation illustrates this dream narrative vividly, keeping these myths alive by letting us experience them in our awaking moments.
Gods of old were fashioned by the magicians of antiquity, who made scratches on cave walls. Later, the magicians were replaced by dutiful scribes, codified structures, visual languages imbued with meaning. In the process of history the magician became the scientist, the teacher, the poet, the painter, the priest. Now, the magician of old is long gone, replaced by modern sculptors of meaning. And yet, it is only the artist among them who has the ability to rob symbols of their meaning and reference in order to breathe new life and reality back into them from an ancient past.
How do myth and legend inform our modern lives? John Campbell's artwork addresses this question, drawing influence from varying spiritual traditions and the ruins of the ancient past. Inspired by Mughal and Indian Rajput painting as well as religious and tribal art, he creates meticulously detailed worlds in a miniaturist style, incorporating characters from mythology into scenes where they take on new meanings.
John Campbell is a Somerville artist, originally from Muncie, Indiana and a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. In addition to his current work, his paintings have been featured on the covers of the journals Nature and Neuron, as well as a children's book and a map of the human brain in Current Biology. He also assists his father in creating the Puzzle Project, a conceptual work of art composed of thousands of hand-made puzzle pieces currently larger than a basketball court and growing.
To see a short video about the artist:
For more images and price information:
Facebook: John W. Campbell
or visit 13Forest gallery in Arlington
About the Inside-Out Gallery
Initiated in 2009, The Inside-Out Gallery is located in the CVS Window in Davis Square, a unique space that allows the public to view an eclectic array of works from artists and local organizations each month. The mission of the Somerville Arts Council is to cultivate and celebrate the creative expressions of the Somerville community. Through innovative collaborations and quality programming we work to make the arts an integral part of life reflective of our diverse city.