Painter Rebecca Campbell Explores Feminine Power
at The Doyle Starting February 15, 2022*
An ambitious exhibition that focuses on a significant motif in Rebecca Campbell's paintings – the agency she gives young and adult women – will be on display at Orange Coast College's Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion from Feb. 15 until March 24.
Titled "Rebecca Campbell: Painting Feminine Power," and curated by The Doyle's director Tyler Stallings, the exhibition includes paintings created over the past two decades. Often encompassing a viewer's field of vision, they feature figures in dreamlike, allegorical settings in which gender politics, dogmas, and nuanced interpersonal, familial relationships are explored. Fusing abstraction and figuration, Campbell imbues her figures and settings with a vibrating luminosity through decisively applied, broad strokes of washes and impasto.
"Rebecca Campbell's art resonates on national and international levels as the cultural and body-politic identities of women around the world are once again under undue surveillance and control," says Stallings.
The exhibition includes several series that convey Campbell's sense of feminine power. "Fool, Seer, MFA Grad" revolves around portraits inspired by female graduate students who have persevered in a field mired in gender inequity. Several years later, in "You Are Here," as if following their trajectory after graduation, Campbell painted portraits of accomplished women artists in Los Angeles, highlighting her peers who have exhibited the same commitment and diligence with their art making.
In other works in the show, Campbell explores her early childhood in a strict, patriarchal Mormon family, often reimagining family portraits and Polaroid snapshots to excavate the past and generate future self-portraits. Works from the last few years extend the exploration of her childhood to those of her own children, often depicted in lush, Edenic landscapes, as if keeping at bay in these wild places the anxieties of the present social unrest, political upheaval, the pandemic, and new legislation turning back precedents regarding a woman's right to decisions about her body. Perhaps the best summation of her burgeoning awareness for the necessity to seek an outlet beyond restrictive gender relations can be found in Campbell's statement, "I grew up in a fundamentally patriarchal system. Men were granted supernatural powers from god and women were left to fend in the ordinary bodies allotted them."
Rebecca Campbell was born and raised in Salt Lake City, the youngest of seven children in a strict Mormon family. Campbell earned her MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2001. Over the past two decades Campbell's paintings have been exhibited across the United States, and overseas in Madrid, Spain, and Basel, Switzerland. Campbell was featured in "Dreams of Another Time," a two-person exhibition at the University Art Museum, California State University, Long Beach and "The Potato Eaters," travelled from the Lancaster Museum of Art and History, Lancaster, California to Brigham Young University Museum of Art, Provo, Utah. She has had several solo exhibitions at LA Louver Gallery in Venice, California.
A version of Campbell's exhibition will travel to the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art at Utah State University, June 1-December 17, 2022.
Image: Rebecca Campbell, Fool, Seer, MFA Grad (Kyla), 2011, oil on canvas. Courtesy of the Artist, L.A. Louver, Venice, CA, and Kyla Hansen.
Painter Holly Topping Puts a Contemporary Feminist Spin on Cinematic Stereotypes of Women in the Old West at The Doyle Starting Feb. 15*
Painter Holly Topping presents new work in a solo exhibition on display at Orange Coast College's Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion from Feb. 15 until Mar. 24, 2022. The exhibition, titled "Holly Topping: The Calamity Hustle," tells a tragicomic coming-of-age story of a onetime SoCal-80's-Party-Girl who finds herself stranded in a Westworld-like absurdist fantasyland of her own imagining.
"The Calamity Hustle" is curated by The Doyle's director Tyler Stallings, and presents new oil paintings and watercolors produced from travels throughout the American southwest. Topping created them while on sabbatical from OCC, where she is a full-time professor in the art department. Of her work, Topping says: "I play with animal and female stereotypes … because I am a feminist who recognizes my shared genetics with beasts of burden. I create absurdist visual mash-ups because, at heart, I am a consummate comedic storyteller."
"Toppings paintings conflate Old Master realist painting techniques with references to cinematic still shots from Hollywood Western films, as a Western Tale," says Stallings.
Topping lives in Los Angeles and has been a professor in the art department at OCC since 2008. She received her Master of Fine Arts degree from University of California, Irvine in 2003, and had a breakout solo exhibition at Angles Gallery, Los Angeles, in 2005. Since then, her work has been included in exhibitions throughout Southern California and the United States.
Image: Holly Topping, From the The Calamity Hustle series, 2020-21, watercolor on paper. Courtesy of the Artist.
Preview receptions for both exhibitions: Thursday, Mar. 3, 5–7 p.m.; Opening receptions for both exhibitions: Saturday, Mar. 5, 2–4 p.m. preceded by Artist-led exhibition tours, 1–2 p.m. Additional Artist-led tours: Thursdays, Mar. 3, 12:15-1 p.m. (Campbell) and Mar. 10, 12:15-1 p.m. (Topping). Admission to all events is free. Please check the gallery website for any change in schedule due to evolving COVID-19 restrictions.
The Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion at Orange Coast College focuses on contemporary visual culture and creates dynamic programming that inspires interaction and dialogue between artists, students, scholars, and local and international communities.
Admission is free for all exhibitions. Modified gallery hours, spring 2022: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. For spring 2022, the gallery is closed on Mondays, Fridays and school holidays. Please check the gallery website for any change in schedule due to evolving COVID-19 restrictions. The Doyle is located next to OCC's Parking Lot D, off Merrimac Way, building 180, between Starbucks and the Art Center classrooms. For additional information, call (714) 432-5738, or visit The Doyle website.
Orange Coast College, founded in 1947, is one of the nation's top transfer schools. With a student population of 25,000, OCC provides exemplary programs leading to Associate degrees and 130 career programs. The college's 164-acre campus is located in the heart of Costa Mesa.
*Please note that the start date for the exhibitions changed from January 31st to February 15th in response to Orange Coast College policies to lessen the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant in spring 2022.