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Timeless: The art of Cressida Campbell

  • This event finished on 22 February 2009

The art of Cressida Campbell is renowned for its depiction of subtle beauty in the everyday and commonplace. Utilising the mediums of painted woodblocks and woodblock prints, Campbell draws on the tradition of Japanese printmaking to produce detailed still lives, intimate interiors and sweeping landscape panoramas. This comprehensive overview exhibition, organised by the National Trust S.H. Ervin Gallery, presents works produced from the 1980s to today.

After her initial training at the East Sydney Technical College, Cressida Campbell discovered an affinity with the medium of woodblock printing. In 1980 she extended her studies abroad at the Yoshida Hanga Academy in Tokyo, Japan, developing a new technique of mono-printing from hand painted wood-blocks. This technique allows Campbell the freedom of painting but the work has the nature of a hand printed surface.

Cressida Campbell paints the things that she finds visually engaging and draws her inspiration from a wide variety of sources ranging from the corner of her own living room, garden vistas and Australia’s distinctive flora, to the backstreets and harbour of her home city, Sydney. However, for Campbell, subject matter is secondary, it is the subtleties of design and pattern that are her primary concern and her pictures obtain their strength from the refinement of colour and composition. It is these transformations of colour, texture and composition that lift Campbell’s work beyond the plane of everyday observation. Each image is precisely drawn and cropped like a photograph to present a small fragment of what the artist sees. These evocative works suggest far more than they depict.

At first glance, these works imply an absence of human presence. But a closer look reveals just the opposite; the pile of washing up, half empty glass of wine, sliced fruit, and discarded towel allude to human intervention. Campbell’s works however reflect upon the generosity of nature and our place within it, the tactility and preciousness of ordinary objects and an engagement between an interior and exterior life. As the viewer joins the space in Campbell’s work, what was solitude becomes intimacy. Cressida Campbell is an uncompromising artist whose work is imbued with subtlety and sensitivity, inspired by the imagination. Her art comes from close observation and skilled drawing and captures the most simple and complex objects with clarity of vision and an intensity of focus.

Campbell’s work combines Eastern and Western sensibilities in a celebration of harmony and colour and reflects the artist’s compulsion to make art. The unique woodcut prints and wood blocks created by Cressida Campbell hold an aesthetic dimension in which even the most commonplace object transcends into an image of great beauty.

A major publication on the artist was released late 2008 to critical and public acclaim – however is now SOLD OUT.  Cressida Campbell greeting cards are available.


A sense of intimacy reflecting life  Sydney Morning Herald 7 February 2009

Sunday afternoons @ The Gallery 

Sunday 18 January, 3pm      An introduction to the work of Cressida Campbell with Rex Irwin Gallery Director, Brett Stone.

Sunday 01 February, 3pm       An artist’s view – Master Printmaker, Michael Kempson and artist, Tom Carment respond to the unique artwork of Cressida Campbell.

Sunday 15 February, 3pm          Singer, actor and legendary nightclub owner, Nell Campbell is sister to artist Cressida Campbell. Nell shares memories by recounting family life in the Campbell Household, (made famous by her journalist father, Ross with his weekly newspaper columns in the 1960s & 70s). Nell will also respond to her favourite art works in this survey exhibition.

Sunday 22 February,  4pm         Cressida Campbell reflects on life and art with 702 ABC  presenter, Simon Marnie – a special public program for the final day of exhibition.

Special Event 

Monday 9 February – Artist Lunch
Cressida Campbell in conversation with Fran Kelly, journalist and ABC presenter