Dark expression

Profile of fine art student Morgan Campbell

Morgan Campbell with her art piece Screwed in Union Gallery.
Morgan Campbell with her art piece Screwed in Union Gallery.
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For fourth-year fine arts student Morgan Campbell, making art has always come naturally.

“It’s just always been something that’s interested me as a kid and I guess being good at it helps, and then the passion just happened at university,” Campbell said.

In the final year of completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, Campbell feels as though she’s found her direction and is delving deeper into discovering who she is as an artist.

When it comes to her work, Campbell has a clear vision. She skips no detail in the imagery and themes or the construction of her artwork.

On display at Union Gallery is a collective show entitled Stuck Inside which features the creations of Campbell as well as two other fourth year fine arts students. From first-to-third-year Campbell spent much time experimenting with different mediums and themes to find her artistic style, and now in fourth-year, she feels as though she’s found her path.

In person, Campbell’s piece "Screwed" is so striking that it’s nearly impossible to look away. Spanning several feet across the gallery wall where it hangs, the fine detail and texture that covers the entirety of the large canvas features striking and intense figure paintings that convey strong emotions through the realism of their depiction.

Working with both oil paints and pastels, mixing them together in her work, Campbell’s piece shows a mastery of her materials and a harmony in the use of different mediums.

“I’ve been doing mainly figurative work so the show on at the Union, Stuck Inside is my first group show and it’s focused on feminine sexuality and facing these ideals that we as women face,” said Campbell, discussing her work.

“It’s this kind of pressure where there’s two polar opposites of females who embrace their sexuality and are very confident and very comfortable in their own skin, and then there’s also the other side where we’re kind of expected to be more reserved or respect our bodies and we have to balance these polarities.”

In a speech that Campbell gave at the reception of “Stuck Inside”, she delves even further into the dark and powerful symbolism behind her work.

“This particular piece attempts to present the personal psychic havoc wreaked when navigating these expectations of embracing sexuality and self-realization, which can sometimes feel to be mutually exclusive. As the title suggests, I feel as though I am screwed either way, damned if I do and damned if don’t,” Campbell said.

Ideally, Campbell wants the viewer to feel the overwhelming emotion and anxiety in her piece, which are feelings that we often try to mask and contain deep within us as we pass through our day-to-day lives. The work is both disturbing and thought provoking, and that sense of unease and astonishment that the viewer feels when looking at it is just proof of how effectively Campbell manages to capture the dark side to the female image.

Campbell feels her program is a great fit for her.

“As a whole it’s definitely been a great experience. Everyone is really helpful and always there for you,” she said.

Campbell’s artwork “Screwed” will be on display at the Union Gallery until Jan. 23.

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