Distant Dialogue


Distant Dialogue

  • Exhibition
© Karen Campbell and Robbin Deyo—Distant Dialogue, Galerie B-312, 2010.

After a training at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, Karen Campbell graduated in 2008 from the University of Saskatchewan with a Master of Visual Arts degree. She has participated in several group exhibitions across Canada. Her drawing project, Walking the Land, was presented at the Crowsnet Pass Public Gallery in Alberta (2003). The artist defines herself as a nomad due to the seasonal nature of her work that has a significant influence on her practice. Born in British Columbia, Robbin Deyo lives and works in Montreal. A Graduate of Concordia University’s masters of Fine Arts program, the artist has presented her work at several exhibitions in Canada, the United States and France. Among her solo exhibitions are: Sweet Sensation, presented at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery (2005) and Skyscapes, distributed at EXPRESSION, exhibition center in Saint-Hyacinthe (2006). Most recently, she presented her in situ work, Flow at La Chambre Blanche, Quebec (2009).

8 January 2010 to 6 February 2010

—Opening Friday January 08, 2010 AT 5 PM

Robbin Deyo and Karen Campbell met while studying at Vancouver's Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. Ten years later in 2005 at the University of Lethbridge, they met again as visiting professors. These accidental reunions were the occasion of a beginning of dialogue between two practices and two approaches to drawing. Their exchange materialized with the exhibition Drawing Distance, which they presented at the Trianon Gallery (Lethbridge, Alberta) in 2008. In the same spirit that they proposed Distant Dialogue to Galerie B-312, however, this time, part of the work was to be done on sight. Both artists employ a writing system that have become their drawing instrument: Campbell writes freehand or with a stamp while Deyo uses the countless possibilities of the spirograph. The word or sentence in Campbell’s case and the line for Deyo are the smallest distinctive units of a system of graphy; and in both cases, their drawing consists of an accumulation of this unit. Campbell writes until the gesture disappears behind the form of a cloud of more or less dense words. Deyo, too, will not stop drawing lines until they disappear behind the drawing of more or less geometric motifs. In Drawing Dialogue, Campbell and Deyo put the issues of their respective practices into perspective. This dynamic still exists in Distant Dialogue, but it is enriched by the artists’ work in situ. In such conditions of production, a relationship of mutual dependence is woven between the two. In addition to offering comparison, these works prove to complement each other. Campbell's work, drawn by means of an accumulation of the word "flight" written a multitude of times on the wall, evokes an aerial world; Deyo's, composed of a series of gray-blue lines, suggests an aquatic world. But do these works complement each other in the iconographic register alone? Even if it were the case, it means that Campbell and Deyo had to consult each other to decide the end point of their respective drawing. It is, I believe, this particular moment that Distant Dialogue puts particularly in representation. In the respective corpora of Campbell and Deyo, some works, such as Campbell's Scroll you me (2008) or Deyo's Flow (2009), show that among the preoccupations of the two artists is conceiving works where the act of drawing wouldn’t end unless by the force of an external condition such as a worn out pencil or a fully filled surface. Do the artists make a mockery of the supposed knowledge that drawing demands to be conducted where it must? I believe the artists have found an extremely effective way of portraying the mystery of the, one that they must judge each time they make a decision of a plastic nature.

Summary of text by—JEAN-ÉMILE VERDIER