Frank Campion

Winston-Salem, NC

In the studio, no matter what I’m working on, I’m always thinking of new approaches, juxtapositions, combinations, techniques, and ideas for larger works. These notions generally find their way into my notebooks or sometimes just handy scraps of paper around the studio. Many are just quick little pen scribbles, cut paper collages that are simply and quickly taped down, diagrams for ideas. The thought is to capture whatever the idea is as quickly as possible. A lot of these little moments are unscripted and impulsive, unguarded inspirational thoughts that don’t pass through the normal filters of a deeper or more complex process. In that way, they are unencumbered by any other agenda than pure idea and development. Many of these thoughts and ideas do find their way into the larger pieces. But rather than thinking of them as “studies” or “models” for larger pieces, I think of them more as spontaneous “rehearsals” for something larger. The risks are low as are the inhibitions and so they have a spontaneous, informal and fresh feel. In this way, the smaller pieces or scraps are the seeds from which larger expressions sometimes emerge. In going through my notebooks, I find this work to be very personal and intimate. In some ways, I discover myself and what I’m all about more in these smaller, unambitious pieces than I do in larger, more formal paintings.

I grew up in New York City. MOMA, the Guggenheim, and the Whitney were my playgrounds. I fell in love with painting, started young and just kept at it. At Harvard I studied at the Carpenter Center and the Fogg Museum. I did manage to graduate in 1972 and, for a few years taught in a small art department in Keene, NH as part of the University of New Hampshire system. In the late 1970s, I settled into a studio in Boston and, in 1981, was selected for a large survey show of New England abstract artists at the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art. I had gallery representation and a number of successful solo as well as group shows at an array of other museums including an exhibition at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts which ended up buying one of my paintings. Ultimately, I had a lover’s quarrel with the art world in the mid-80s and left for a while. But I have since reconciled with it, rediscovered my mojo, and have gone back to artmaking with a vengeance. Recently, I’ve shown my work at galleries in New York, Charlotte, Washington, DC, and, of course, Winston-Salem.

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