Troy Campa is the owner and curator of Camiba Gallery, tucked away off of Hwy 290 on the east side of Austin in a strip mall with a Driver’s Ed school; one may not even know of its existence. But this writer surely does, as her nose only goes where the good art is!
The trinity of artists featured in the current show, whose styles are discordant with one another and yet at once symmetrical, include Rebecca Rothfus Harrell, Jason Webb, & Benjamin McVey. The triumvirate has one thing in common: an attraction to mundane objects, which they transform into something formidable.
Rebecca Rothfus Harrell was raised in the rustbelt, Pittsburgh. Her childhood town inspired her to investigate form and infrastructure through the lens of abstraction. Pittsburgh has more bridges than Venice, Italy; a whopping 446 bridges make Steel City unique in the topography world. Harrell’s work is of all types of signs, including road signs she photographs on her travels across the country; iconic and often in disrepair, hanging on a wire or smashed beyond recognition, except to her all-knowing eyes. A gasoline sign becomes a series of geometric shapes. I thought one of the signs was a rearview mirror, but it was a Conoco sign. She earned a BFA from The Art Institute of Chicago and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Tufts University/SMFA. Her work has been exhibited nationwide.
Jason Webb has a curious fascination with garbage! He paints exclusively on thisabandoned topic and does not work for the Sanitation Department; the meticulousness of his scavenger pickings and detailed paintings of the crap he finds on the street would make him the darling of the recycled world. The collections he duplicates do not show the shadows, as the piles are carefully reconstructed precisely as they were discarded on the roadside, piece by an inglorious piece. He is a three-time Hunting Art Prize finalist and studied computer animation. That’s probably why his paintings have a sheen and pop to them, usually seen in CGI.
Benjamin McVey’s most recent work features vessels of glass. Like Webb’s painting, these pieces also have shadows. They stand starkly against a nondescript grayish, blue-tinted background. In McVey’s search for Zen-like quiet space and simplicity, the empty bottles, vases, and jars wait patiently in the void, perhaps to be filled with purpose. He studied painting and drawing in NYC at the Art Students League and National Academy School. He has taught drawing, painting, and sculpture at multiple universities and colleges and exhibits extensively. In the summer of 2023, he will attend the Venezia Contemporanea artist residency in cooperation with La Storta Exhibition Space in Venice, Italy.
The show runs until April 15, 2023.
Open Thursday through Saturday, 11 to 5, and other times by appointment.
6448 Hwy 290 East, Suite A102, Austin, TX 78723 CamibaGallery.com