‘Organic: Recent Artworks by Todd Campbell and Jennifer Chenoweth’
'Organic' shows new work by husband and wife artists Jennifer Chenoweth and Todd Campbell that is opulent and expansive
Reviewed by Rachel Koper, Fri., Sept. 9, 2005
Organic: Recent Artworks by Todd Campbell and Jennifer Chenoweth
Julia C. Butridge Gallery, through Sept. 28
"Organic" shows two artists in three distinctive modes. Jennifer Chenoweth presents luscious abstract oil paintings, Todd Campbell makes hand-forged and -welded modular steel sculptures, and together this husband and wife team, aka Fisterra Studio, creates some paper works. The new artwork they've produced this summer is opulent and expansive. The title refers to the easy rhythms and seemingly growing forms in both their work.
Todd Campbell works by the furnace, stretching tapers into steel and then hammering in curves. After making big piles of little curves, he welds one big form. The final effect is a caterpillar or perhaps some kind of coarse hair with a part in it. From the side it could be a field of grass. His work grabs your attention with its modulated rhythms and repeated forms. He works consistently within his process of mass producing small units, then combining them into a sprawling form. In Fungus, Campbell used a power hammer to form a mushroom motif, some the size of railroad ties, some smaller. Like real mushrooms, they come in tight clusters and just appear all at once. Varied heights and thickness give this piece a certain growing motion. It's a bit mysterious and naturally appealing.
Chenoweth is a capable artist adept with many materials. For this show she is revisiting oil painting, which is a good thing. The entire series of paintings here has a wonderful palette and ab-ex vitality. Her approach to building up the paint surface is consistent and confident. She modulates several earthy tones in the background with soft blending. She then jogs some rocky or cliff forms in and out of the corners. She deliberately adds in a spot of a challenging color, like a mint green or flat gray, over a golden background, to spice up the drama of the work. There is a feeling of sophisticated spontaneity and happy handwriting.
For the burn paintings, their collaboration is surprisingly organized. Chenoweth painted some toned washes, then Campbell added some branding, then Chenoweth cropped them into great compositions. They remind me of amber beehives, with lozenge patterns, very earthy. This show has a nice variety of media in it and is well worth a visit to the Dougherty Arts Center.