Campbell’s work largely emerges from experiences living in and navigating urban environments, from London to San Francisco, with side trips to the reservoirs, wooded trails and marinas. In this recent body of work, precision counterbalances process, as she further explores the interplay between fabricated materials and structure and inevitable decay. Artificial color resonates against stripes of layered detritus honed to topographical nuance. Hard edges abut whorls and eddies revealed by repetitive abrasion and layering. Fluid movement defines specific interlocking elements. The intersection of strategies, both specific and open-ended, results in work imbued with a sense of stability and presence, while vibrating with energy.
Born and raised in Pembrokeshire, South Wales, Jules A. Campbell started her creative career as a graduate of The New College of Speech & Drama, London, UK (now an affiliate of Middlesex University). Early on she taught English and established the Drama Department at Southaw Girls’ School in North London, UK.
Well-traveled and passionate about performing and visual arts, Campbell ultimately settled in the San Francisco Bay Area, participating in numerous exhibitions and events through the years. In 2015 Campbell became a founding member of GearBox Gallery in Oakland, where she now maintains a studio, exploring the beauty and grit of the urban environments she embraces as an inspiration.
Found natural objects—branches, leaves, pods, driftwood, seeds, kelp, cones, stems—are a decades long on-going fascination for me. I collect them wherever I happen upon them, while walking in my neighborhood, walking my dog, camping in the woods, even in the produce aisle of the grocery store. I’m drawn to their shapes, color, surface texture and sculptural nature. I constantly collect and like to have lots of each one so I don’t run short .
If left in the wild these ephemeral items eventually disintegrate; but without exposure to the elements they last years, Leaves are particularly fragile, but soaking them in a glycerine solution keeps them supple. My work is surprisingly resilient. Though appearing delicate, one can just hold a piece under a gentle spray of water to dust it , then set it down to air dry. I’m not interested in making sculptures that will last until the end of time. They have a life-span just as we do.
When assembling a piece, I aspire to make it appear to have grown that way. A pod collected over 20 years ago can be just the perfect element to bring together a new piece.It’s surprising how the right combination of driftwood, pods and stems combine to create an entity. Many of them have a personality and come together effortlessly; others compel me delve more deeply to achieve a felicitous resolution This work gives me immense satisfaction and an abiding connection with nature—it restores my sense of equilibrium with the world.