From Andrew Frost…
There’s an art world aphorism that states, every artist who uses text eventually gives it up. As to why that might be is uncertain, but it’s only partly true. While Adam Cullen gave up text only paintings for bushrangers and animals, Robert McPherson continues to valorises roadside signage in a sequence of works that appears never ending. Emily Floyd’s word sculptures meanwhile are now far more ambiguous than didactic and Tom Polo has embarked on textless figures and blobs. Jon Campbell, however, keeps the flag quite literally flying, and his latest show Bewdyful marks out his conceptual territory.
Campbell’s enamel on board paintings immortalise the transience of language, those figures of speech and verbal space fillers used as signals to the nitiated: I’m not racist but…  floats sh*t-brown letters over a blue and pink background, while Sunshine , Paris  and Herbert’s Pies/For Lease  are fragments of the Australian suburban landscape painful and hilarious in their familiarity. Campbell has a penchant for the song title [eg, Love Will Tear Us Apart – Again] and the repurposed found object. Taken together, Campbell’s paintings, like those of his peers and followers, are a picture of the here and now as sure as any figurative painting, and just as bewdyful.
Until October 26
Darren Knight Gallery, Waterloo
Pic: Jon Campbell, BEWDYFUL, 2013. Enamel paint, plywood, 20x40cm.