"Like an anthropologist of the everyday, Campbell goes by foot, or on bicycle to record the cliches and snapshot-like moments of urban existence." John K. Grande

Laurie Campbell, A Painter of City Life

by John K. Grande

 

Informed with a background in illustration from Ontario College of Art where she won various awards for her artwork, Laurie Campbell went on to gain hands-on experience working with a variety of commissioned projects with numerous Canadian publications that include the Globe and Mail and Homemaker's Magazine among others. As an artist, Laurie Campbell, illustrated Outsmarting Your Karma for the author Barry Neil Kaufman, as well as other books over the course of her career.

 

A born and bred Montrealer, Laurie Campbell returned in 1994. The city's rich cultural and architectural history, its landmarks and scenes of daily life has provided a living heritage for the artist to draw upon. Campbell's paintings of people walking to work in the downtown business district, or at the corner store depanneur, all capture the drama of daily life. Like an anthropologist of the everyday, Campbell goes by foot, or on bicycle to record the cliches and snapshot-like moments of urban existence. The artist then reworks these scenes at her studio into larger oil paintings. Many of these scenes, such as the old newspaper stand, the woman dressed in her daily attire shopping at the neighbourhood corner store, a rooftop vista that captures a collage of architecture from different eras all in the same view, are changing, and may not be there in the same way in a few years. So these paintings themselves will enter into that panoply of historical moments, caught by artists, as time goes by.

 

Influenced by realist painters of the past such as George Bellows, John Sloan, Edward Hopper and the French Impressionists Gustave Caillebotte, Lucien Pissarro and Edgar Degas, Laurie Campbell has produced a remarkable array of paintings that document the places and structures of our cities in watercolour and oil. As times change, so do the contexts we live in, and Laurie Campbell captures the heritage of our past, but does so with a sense of place in the moment. Many of the scenes she paints are significant urban landmarks. Each of us gains a sense of who we are, and where we come from, from knowing the places we live and work in have a history that extends into the past. The city has a living history that Campbell seizes on, painting in a style that is sometimes nostalgic, other times gives us a sense of the moment. Just as these city streets have served countless generations before us, they continue to evolve and will be there for future generations.

 

And so Laurie Campbell paints this urban theatre with its living history of people, architecture, and public spaces with a love for these places and their naturalistic scenes. This has been, and remains, the focus of Laurie Campbell's art. She captures the gestures and movements of people in their daily activities and routines, always with a sense of the specifics of place, and the details of the architecture, the clothing people are wearing, all carry a cachet of that past history, and present-day life. Laurie Campbell is a painter whose eye for the momentary detail, engages something that goes beyond the moment and builds into a dialogue with other times, but in the present.

 

A Note from Laurie

 

I have always had a strong interest in portraying urban life, and am fascinated by an architecture of urban life that includes corner stores, taverns, historical downtown business districts. The architectures of the past that are still with us in the present, and represent some of our heritage are likewise changing. My paintings document what we often do not notice as we go about our daily routine. The environments of architecture, public space, and people are always there, but largely unobserved. These urban sites and spaces play such a major role in our maintaining a sense of place, and give us a sense of security in knowing that other peoples lived in the past amid these same architectural settings of city life. With every new year modern structures replace the neglected storefronts and landmarks of years past. As a city changes so does our collective memory of what these places are. In capturing people in their daily activities of walking down a city street, dressed for the occasion, I give a sense of people of our times being in these places, and whose lives take place amid a historical context that is the living, ever evolving cityscape. Each of us gets a sense of beauty and comfort from being in the everyday, a reality that surround us and likewise carries a cadence of the past, not ours, but of decades ago. These urban landmarks, often overlooked, capture a part of our heritage, something I would like to share with all of you through my paintings

 

Biography:

Born in Montreal, Quebec, 1969

 
Studied:

1991-1993 - Ontario College of Art, Toronto

1989-1991 - Dawson College, Montreal

1986-1989 - John Abbott College, Ste. Anne de Bellevue


Awards:

1993 - The Robin Comyn Cumine Scholarship for fourth year illustration and painting

1992 - The Herb McCarthy Award for Illustration


 Membership:

The Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour, elected in 2002.


Solo Exhibitions:

2009 - Galerie Walter Klinkhoff, Montreal

2007 - Urban Figures, Roberts Gallery, Toronto

2006 - Beach Series, The Tavern, Montreal

2005 - Roberts Gallery, Toronto

2004 - Recent Works, The Gallery at Victoria Hall, Westmount

2003 - Recent Works, The Claremont, Montreal

2001 - Watercolours of Montreal, The Monkland Tavern, Montreal

2001 - Recent Paintings, The Claremont, Montreal

2000 - The Monkland Tavern, Montreal

1999 - Avmor Celebrates the New Millennium, Musée Marc-Aurele Fortin, Montreal

1998 - The Claremont Café, Montreal

1997 - The Chesterfield, Montreal

1996 - The Claremont, Montreal

1995 - The Claremont Café, Montreal

1993 - Art that Delivers, Annual Student Exhibition, OCA, Toronto

1992 - Annual Student Exhibition, OCA, Toronto


Group Exhibitions:

2003-06 Toronto International Art Fair , Toronto

2004 - Recent Works, Omega Gallery, Vancouver

2003 - 2007 Artist's Choice, Roberts Gallery, Toronto

2003 - Recent Works, Montreal Amateur Athletics Association, Montreal

2003 - Realist Painters, Roberts Gallery

2002 - Four New Artists - Roberts Gallery Toronto

2000,01 - The Monkland Tavern (bistro), Montreal

2000-01 - The Claremont Café, Montreal

2000 - The Monkland Tavern, Montreal

1999 - Paintings of Montéal, The Claremont Café, Montreal

1999 - Paintings of Ireland, The Monkland Tavern, Montreal

1998 - The Monkland Tavern, Montreal

1997 - The Monkland Tavern, Montreal

1997 - The Marlowe, Pointe-Claire

1996 - Van Gogh Lounge-Resto, Montreal

1996 - The Claremont Café, Montreal

1996 - The Monkland Tavern, Montreal

 
Juried:

2003 - Open Water, CSPWC annual show, John B. Aird Gallery, Toronto

2002 - The Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors, Old Forge NY.

2000 - Mountain Lake Arts Auction 2000, McCord Museum, Montreal & at the Plattsburgh Art

Museum, New York (April). PBS Broadcast April 29th, 2000.

1998 - Seven Montreal Contemporaries, sponsored by Julius Baer Canada, Tudor Hall, Ogilvy's

1996 - The 34th annual Thomas More Art Exhibition, Maison de la Culture, Montreal.

1993 - The 31st annual Thomas More Art Exhibition, Maison de la Culture, Montreal.

 

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