Continuing our 2020 feature of images from our Steven Campbell Calendar, our February selection is: ‘Crash Cubism’ (The Neo-Classical Period).
This painting was created as part of Steven’s 1990 exhibition, On Form & Fiction, at the Third Eye Centre Glasgow, which is now the CCA.
The main gallery space was given over to the installation of a faux museum with large drawings forming the illusion of hand painted wallpaper with the paintings hung as if in a museum setting, complete with benches, table and ‘Je t’aims . . . moi non plus’ playing on a reel to reel tape recorder. In the side room Steven decided to exhibit stand alone large scale oils on canvas ,of which Crash Cubism was one.
Duncan MacMillan wrote the following in his book on Steven called ‘The Story So Far’:
‘The theme of English twentieth-century aesthetics, it’s particular struggle with Modernism (and it’s deluded belief that art itself held the ‘answer’) seems to be taken up in Crash Cubism.’
At this point in time Steven was reading a lot about Ruskin and architecture and design in general. His love of film is also part of the fabric that makes this exhibition the tour de force it has been acknowledged to be. Tarkovsky mixed with Westerns throws up a lot of recurring images used both in the installation and the stand alone paintings.
Crash Cubism is seen at that crucial point of danger like many of Steven’s paintings. It’s the ‘still’ from the movie where we the viewer get to see the danger approaching along the trestle track, about to shatter the cubist painting and hurtle our hero/the artist to an unknown fate.