Olga Campbell exhibition
(Images copyright of the artist, used here with her permission)
WHISPERS ACROSS TIME, paintings, prints and sculpture by Olga Campbell
Opening reception on Thursday, April 21, 2005, from 7 to 9 p.m.
Gertrude and Zack Gallery, 950 West 41st Avenue, Vancouver
The exhibit runs until May 18, 2005.
Olga’s statement about her work:
“It started with a whisper – reminding me of things forgotten, things past – then it became deafening in its explosion of feelings.”
Olga Campbell’s mother lost her whole family in the Holocaust. She knew that everyone died in concentration camps, but could never find out when or where. She escaped the same fate only because she was arrested by the Russians at the Polish/Russian border in 1939 and taken to a russian prison camp, where she gave birth to a baby girl who only lived for a few days.
Two years ago, it became evident that the feelings caused by this tremendous loss, were transmitted from mother to daughter and had their origins in these events which took place over half a century ago.
Olga Campbell then embarked on a difficult and emotional journey into the past. Through the internet and Yad Vashem, she was able to get information about her family. She found articles and photographs, saw artwork and received letters from a person who had known members of the family. The bare facts, the bare bones which she had grown up with were fleshed out by this information and took on a new life. She felt surrounded by family, as if they had just been waiting to be heard. She then translated this journey into art, her medium of expression, also because most members of the family who perished were artists.
This exhibition deals with memories and losses. Many of the pieces in the show are fragmented, broken in appearance. Half there, half not. The presence of things, the absence of things. The presence of people, the absence of people. The materials used reflect this. Masks made of wax and straw show the ephemeral nature of life, broken, scarred- not whole, fragile, fragmented, but still there. Bronzes dealing with the difference between the inside and the outside. Rusted metal figures in groups against a backdrop of metal with negative spaces where the figures once were. An inherent connection between past, present and future. Life as a progression. The other works in the exhibit, ceramic sculptures, mixed media, photographs and text echo the same theme. But the artwork also portrays a sense of resurgance, a life spirit which emerges from the devestation of the past. This is a tribute to a family. Giving them back their identity and their dignity.
Olga Campbell has been doing art since 1993, when she graduated from Emily Carr School of Art and Design. She does sculpture, printmaking, mixed media and photography.
Olga Campbell is a member of the Art Institute, Sculpture at Capilano College**. I came to know her during her visits to the printmaking studio to do some digital prints to include in the body of work she has been preparing for her exhibition.
Added 18/05/2005: Please see my post about my visit to Olga’s exhibition
Update 2011: **now University, with updated link.