Rebecca Campbell (b. 1970) was born and raised in Salt Lake City, the youngest of seven children in a strict Mormon family. By age twelve, Campbell had begun to develop a critical eye, questioning the parameters of the church and the role it ascribed to her gender. This led to her departure from the church. Campbell did not bow to pressure to conform to the societal norms, but instead spent her teenage years developing her passion to make her art, which included sculpture and installation, as well as painting and drawing. Campbell left Utah to study at Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, Oregon, receiving her B.F.A. in 1994.
About Rebecca Campbell’s work by artist Kimberly Brooks
There is a passage in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables that makes me think of Rebecca Campbell’s installations and paintings — both are at once familiar and menacing. Hugo speaks of the ways in which physical places from our pasts become holders and place cards for psychological memories and experiences. “But when we are distant from them we find that those things have become dear to us, a street, trees and roofs, blank walls, doors and windows; we have entered those houses without knowing it, we have left something of our heart in the very stonework. Those places we no longer see, perhaps will never see again but still remember, have acquired an aching charm; they return to us with the melancholy of ghosts…”
In Rebecca Campbell’s works, there is something of Hugo’s concept of “aching charm” that does indeed return to us with “the melancholy of ghosts.”
“All of my work comes from a very personal place but I think it’s important to leave room for people to imagine their own stories too. When I paint someone I don’t think of it as a portrait. I think of it as a symbolic painting of “a girl”, or “a woman”. I think this creates openness in the work that allows it to transcend a specific time and place. I’m also interested in showing dreamlike states. For me dream states are symbolic of the inward reflection that makes all creative acts possible.”