An interview with Edward Campbell
Sky Meditations includes pieces you created during the Coviv 19 lockdown, how did this period of slowing down affect your approach to your work?
The quietening of human activity during the lockdown was on a personal level a cherished time. It was also a time of spectacular weather which combined created an extremely reflective and peaceful atmosphere. Suddenly there was space in abundance so I found I was able to approach my work with more time and consideration and certainly with a more contemplative state of mind.
The pieces are a mixture of Ink and Oil works - are these your preferred mediums to work with?
This is a difficult question to answer as I like both mediums for different reasons. I love the feel of oil paint and how expressive it can be. With Ink I enjoy the lack of predictability, there is an element of uncertainty for you can never be entirely sure what is going to appear after it's gone through the press. Sometimes I'll use a more painterly approach with the Ink using a brush to work on the plate, the results can sometimes be quite interesting I think.
Your exhibition is labelled quite imaginatively - can you explain the short narratives you've created on the labels, and why you've chosen to do so?
In terms of the titles although some of them are my own I must admit that is not the case with all of them. Some of the lines are from poems by Wallace Stevens, Sarah Howe and John Burnside. I think perhaps I should have made this clearer as I think it's important to accredit people with their work. I'm hugely fond of poetry and very much enjoy when it is combined with imagery, something that I want to keep exploring in the future. The words from the poems and the ones of my own were chosen, in combination with the artworks, to encourage a more whimsical, expansive state of mind, a doorway if you will to becoming more attuned to the majesty of the world around us.
You mention a new book in your exhibition introduction - 'A Vast and Brilliant Sky.' - can you tell us more about this and where we can find it?
My new book had been slowly forming for really quite a long time until, as another result of lockdown, it all fell into place. It started out as a children's book and, although still involving the same character, has become completely different to how I had initially envisioned it to be . It is manly an illustrated book full of scenes of oceans, stars and sky with a few words on each page. I've named it a mediation as a subtitle so you can see there is a theme going on here! For the time being it will just been available in the gallery and on our website, I haven’t got any further in that regard at the moment.
As well as creating, you also host other artists and their work at The Old Mill Gallery in Palnackie which you run with your wife, and fellow artist Lucy Lee, can you tell us about your vision for the space and what inspired you to take this on?
Our vision for the The Old Mill has been evolving over the time we have been here. It's a charming old building and a very beautiful and inspiring place to live which helped us stay committed to what has proved to be a considerable project in every way. Initially it started out as various studio spaces which then became a gallery/bookshop and events space. Along with these elements it is now forming into a small art school and teaching space. It has always been a place of creative enquiry and imagination as we are both very interested in the potentiality of the arts in enabling transformation both on a personal level and in the wider world.
What do you hope people will take away from the Sky Meditations exhibition?
From the Sky mediations exhibition I hope people take away a remembrance to observe the sky and all it's changing weather. Perhaps we can view the sky as a reflection of our own internal sky and it's ever changing moods. I also hope it invites taking time to contemplate the mystery that we are here observing the sky in the first place. Most of all I hope it brings people a little calm and serenity in these considerably unsettling times in which we find ourselves.
You can visit the Sky Meditations exhibition at CatStrand, High Street, New Galloway, Castle Douglas, DG7 3RN, or click here to visit the virtual gallery.