‘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

<b>Racing Stripe</b>, by Jennifer Chenoweth
Racing Stripe, by Jennifer Chenoweth

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.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Arts Reviews
'The 2012 Drawing Annual'
Don't let Tiny Park Gallery go without experiencing this exhibit of depth and meaning

Wayne Alan Brenner, May 18, 2012

Arts Review
'Memento Mori'
The three artists showing here exhibit so much sentience, mystery, and grace

Wayne Alan Brenner, April 13, 2012

More by Rachel Koper
"Piecing It Together" Gives Credit to Austin's First Graffiti Artists
The Mexican American Cultural Center exhibition captures the lore and legends of the local graffiti scene early on

Jan. 24, 2020

Top 9 (Plus Three) Memories & Best Happenings in 2009
Top 9 (Plus Three) Memories & Best Happenings in 2009
2009 was a good year for artists, young and old, getting their props

Jan. 1, 2010


Organic: Recent Artworks by Todd Campbell and Jennifer Chenoweth, Fungus

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle