OHWOW inaugurates its Los Angeles gallery with a solo exhibition of recent work by New York based artist Scott Campbell. In Campbell’s West Coast debut, Noblesse Oblige, he uses copper, currency, graphite, ink, and neon, to transform tattoo subculture iconography into delicate and tempered work.
Campbell expands his use of cut currency, sourcing uncut sheets of dollars directly from the United States Mint, to create large, intricate work with a sunken relief effect. One piece uses $5K worth of currency sheets to create an over two-foot cube, into which a three dimensional skull is carved-out. These works employ the familiar blue-collar vernacular of tattoo flash-boards – a skull smoking a cigarette, a skeleton’s hand in a provocative gesture, a single eye emitting a penetrating ray – and highlight the irony that exists within that imagery.
Noblesse Oblige also includes a suite of prints. Using a tattoo gun, Campbell has engraved a collection of copper plates to make a group of etchings. By using the same plates to compose the separate prints, the artist plays with visual semantics – how meaning changes through arrangement. A series of drawings, executed onto the interior of ostrich eggshells, also flirt with interpretation. Morbid images, rendered in graphite onto these fragile surfaces that represent birth and transformation, point out the delicacy of opposition.
Noblesse Oblige opens on March 19 and runs till April 22, 2011 www-oh-wow.com