Cob is proud to welcome Tomo Campbell back for his second solo exhibition at the gallery, Go on then.
With its title that could be taken in a variety of ways – an offhand remark or conversational fragment that could sit in a number of contexts – Go on then well characterises Campbell’s interest in ambiguity, multiplicity and the balance between casual and considered, pleasure and intellection.
Building on principles developed in his 2018 exhibition at Cob, There, this new body of work again finds Campbell conceiving of the gallery itself in compositional terms. Paintings mirror, link and tessellate through the space. The viewer’s developing sense of the ligatures between them has an enlivening effect, rendering the rooms busy with energy. Our own physical presence becomes that rare thing in these distanced times: one among many.
Nowhere is this more true than in the main room, where the near-symmetry of two large compositions (picking up on the centrepiece of There) finds the viewer occupying an energised space between them, as if standing on the threshold of a mirror. Elsewhere, Campbell’s innovative use of UV printing techniques in combination with oil paint blends digital processing with manual craftsmanship to produce subtle recurrences and re-figurations, emphasising the significance of the exhibited work as an ensemble. The effect is a disruptive sense of both sequence and simultaneity.
These visual principles lend themselves to a comprehension of the space (and of Campbell’s creative practice) in acoustic terms. On an immediate level, ambiguities between background and foreground provoke the eye into a perception of flickering that resembles vibration or oscillation. More widely, the echoic sense of forms dissolving and reforming, resonating through the rooms, also recalls the musical structure of variations in a single key. Interplays of colour temperature, texture, pace and thickness of brush stroke all amplify these effects, marking an exciting development in Campbell’s invigorating and original application of pigment to canvas.