In Julie Campbell’s embroideries and hand-painted tableware the medium is part of the message.
Julie Campbell is a British/Belgian multi-disciplinary artist. She studied graphics at Sint Lukas in Brussels. She has a fascination with anatomy and draws much of her inspiration from the work of Vesalius and Da Vinci. Over the years, her practice has extended beyond drawing and painting to fiber art, and embroidery in particular.
Since her first solo exhibition in Brussels in 2019 she has gone on to exhibit internationally, including at Stone Sparrow Gallery in New York, and Arch-Enemy Arts in Philadelphia (USA).
As a mother to a chronically ill daughter she has spent a long time engaging with the medical profession, to little avail. As she finds herself thrown into a new reality of researching Lyme disease, she has become a reluctant expert on auto-immune illnesses, pathogens and parasites. This is strongly reflected in her subject matter.
“What I find fascinating is that our outward appearance tells very little of the person we are. Our bodies are a facade. I like to explore beyond that idea, and get under the skin as it were.”
“This Woman’s Work” is Campbell’s second exhibition at The Green Door Gallery. Here she presents a collection of her most recent work, touching on themes of gender roles and autonomy. It is a deeply personal collection and many of the works may be considered as self portraits, the gothic lettering of the word “FUCK” in her small embroidery ‘F Bomb”, certainly brings a touch of humour but also demonstrates that it is ok – and necessary – to just vent one’s frustrations.
At first glance the embroidery ring, or the painted plate conjure up a picture of domesticity, but then the anatomical images and words disrupt that picture. While embroidery is associated with female art and “woman’s work”, each image is strong and deeply thought provoking. “How it started”, which shows a baby in the womb, is painted on a porcelain paint; the disjuncture between the powerful image and the fragile medium renders the first more powerful. The detailed needle-point embroidery of a heart imbue the anatomical with a profound respect for its complicated and beautiful structure.
The show includes pieces in a variety of media and techniques; alongside embroidery and mixed media renderings, she has included her newest work which is hand-painted tableware – works such as ‘Dopamine’, ‘Flora’ and ‘The On Button’ playfully subvert certain activities which are considered to be within the female domain. When Julie ‘does the dishes’, this is what she means.
The Green Door Gallery, 21 Rue Murillo, Brussels 1000