Class of 2023 • Painting

Éabha Campbell

Éabha Campbell
Ulster University, Belfast School of Art


Graduation Year
Class of 2023


My recent body of work titled 'The True Sea is Cold and Black' explores the ideaof the abject and the contiguity of attractionand repulsion, the weird and the grotesque.The series involves a variety of methods andprocesses, incorporating analogue synthesisersand biological matter, deconstructing andtransforming images and sound.Throughout literature, the colour greencarries associations of nature and growthalongside sickness and decay. In the context ofexistentialism, there is a truth that lies in betweenthis dichotomy, below the surface of a thin greenfilm. From animal foetuses in formaldehyde togaping mouths and discarded fish heads, my workexplores ideas of familiarity and the unheimlich,with reference to Sartre, Mark Fisher, Radiohead,The Fall and David Lynch.Traditionally, the still life genre of painting,characterised by lush depictions of fruit,flowers and rich with symbolism, providedartists with an opportunity to showcase theirtechnical abilities, along with the use of colour,composition and brushwork. Influenced bythe Old Masters in combination with artistslike Soutine, I aim to reinvent the classical stilllife by contorting these works into expressiveand grotesque portrayals of familiar subjects,using lurid phthalo greens, golds and yellows incombination with deep reds, ultramarine bluesand dioxazine violet.In this body of work, the focus is not so much onthe subject matter but the space it exists within.The theme of decay and cyclical decompositionalso plays a role, which links to my interestin osteology and taxidermy, including 400+specimens I have collected from mountains andbogs in various stages of decomposition.
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