RIPPLES AND MOVEMENT
Weaving requires the orderly movement of multiple mechanical systems to transform individual lengths of yarns into a stable structure. By painting directly onto the warp and weft yarns, a distortion is introduced into this system and creates room for chance to lace its way into the methodical. Built into each piece are geometric patterns from the weave structure, color patterns from layering the painted marks and patterns of embedded ripples left behind by the feathering motion that weaving exerts on the yarns.
Like the abstract impressionist painters from the 1940’s, my work seeks to expand awareness of the unseen through the abstraction of familiar objects. Early impressionists believed that abstracting portraits and disrupting patterns could encourage involvement and imagination in the viewer. I am interested in the conversations these ideas generated, the very process of abstraction, and the optical experience of abstracting. To this end, I subject my portraiture and geometric color patterning to a system of layering and displacements. The act of abstraction is both recorded and created through the weaving of the paintings.
Melissa English Campbell (b. 1969) was the youngest member of a hippy caravan heading from California to Tennessee where her parents helped to build a commune called The Farm. She spent her formative years living in communes and cities across Europe until, in her early teens, her family settled in Northern California. In 2009 Melissa, her husband and two children relocated from Scotland to Northeast Ohio where they reside still. Her woven tapestries of portraits and colorful abstractions are shaped by the migratory nature of her early life.
Melissa is the recipient of the Ohio Art Council’s Award for Individual Excellence and her artwork has exhibited in the CAN Triennial, the New Bedford Art Museum, Museum of Texas Tech University, Yeiser Art Center, Petaluma Center for the Arts, Hand Weaving Museum New York, Troppus Gallery, Society for Contemporary Craft Pittsburgh, San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, and internationally at the Royal Albert Museum in the UK, Seoul South Korea, Como Italy, and New South Wales Australia. Melissa holds a Bachelor of Science from U.C. Davis and a Master’s in Fine Arts from Kent State University.