Rebecca Campbell's mushroom clouds were painted several months before the recent nuclear scare in Japan, when viewing them would have been a less immediate, more abstract experience of destruction and fear. The paintings, which were exhibited in Los Angeles last month, reflect this volatility of world events, and warn against the ever-present threat of a disruption much greater than our day-to-day difficulties. At the same time, they attest to the idea that anxiety and tension may be felt in the artist, as an arthritic may feel a coming rainstorm in his joints, before the real crisis happens. The artist explains:
I try to understand the atomic blast through heat, light, obliteration, full spectrum doom. I try to understand the rainbow through the mud it arcs against, suspension of pigment in oil, and a utopia flickering in and out of cliché. These paintings are a manifesto for rapture in spite or even in debt to the abyss.
Rebecca Campbell, "Romancing the Apocalypse," LA Louver Gallery, 45 N Venice Blvd, Venice, Ca 90291, through April 16, 2011.