The Painting Center of New York City presents Thisness, a solo exhibition of paintings by Barbara Campbell Thomas, October 1-26, with an opening reception on October 3, 6:00 – 8:00 pm.
The Medieval theory of haecceity asserts individuality resides within a person’s or object’s thisness, the non-qualitative properties that make someone or something not just any someone or something, but particular. A haecceity is not a “wedding ring;” a haecceity is the specific band you wear on your finger, weighty with personal significance. Barbara Campbell Thomas’s paintings are equal parts paint, collage and fabric piecing set within the painting ground. Her paintings’ present construction, carefully evolved over the last fifteen years, reveals their thisness.
Thisness, in Barbara Campbell Thomas’s studio, is the coupling of painting with quilting, a fusion rooted in the artist’s simultaneous love for painting and her dissatisfaction with the narrow definition of abstract painting canonized in western art history. Five years ago, a different lineage opened up for Campbell Thomas when her mother taught her how to make quilts. The artist observes, “In the months following my mother’s quilting lessons, I spent most evenings piecing together quilt blocks. The visual thinking at work as I sewed together color and pattern was deeply linked to the paintings simultaneously underway in my studio. But the material was new and unfamiliar, and initially I could not see where my sewing machine met my paint brush. I continued this foray into quilt-making, propelled to make quilts by a visceral realization: had I lived just 150 or 200 years ago, I would likely not have been a painter, because such an identity would not have been readily open to me as a woman. Instead, I understood with eerie clarity, I would have made quilts. I started to see quilting as the flipside of painting, and immediately a new strain of influence and possibility opened up before me.”
Thisness, in Campbell Thomas’s paintings, is rooted in the particular physicality of commingled paint and fabric. But Campbell Thomas’s attentive working of paint, fabric and collage is not an end in itself; rather materiality is a conduit into the unfolding co-exploration of her own bodily thisness. Through painting she asks: What is it to make a painting as a body? What is it for a body to breath and also to paint? When does a body end and a painting begin? Such questions fan out across the surface of her paintings through rhythmic shifts of wobbly line and through repetition of simple shapes made at ever larger scales. The latter evoke patterns of inhalation and exhalation, linking repetition with rhythm. Along with the painting’s emanating linear elements, Barbara Campbell Thomas’s propensity toward high-keyed jolts of color evoke an ecstatic, unfolding space that plays with scale, and depth perception.
Barbara Campbell Thomas’s paintings have been exhibited in museums and galleries across the United States, in North Carolina’s Weatherspoon Art Museum, The Atlanta Center for Contemporary Art, Marcia Wood Gallery in Atlanta and the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art in Grand Rapids, MI. She received her BFA from Penn State, her MFA from the University of California, Berkeley, and she attended Yale Norfolk and Skowhegan. She recently received a 2018-2019 North Carolina Artists Fellowship. Upcoming exhibitions are planned for the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, NC and the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, NC. Barbara Campbell Thomas is an Associate Professor of Art at UNC Greensboro. She lives and works in Climax, NC.
Theresa Bickham, Assistant Professor of Voice: Soprano Theresa Bickham has been praised for her “fine piano nuances” and “expressive legato line.” her European debut in Graz, Austria and has performed with the Houston Grand Opera, New Jersey Opera, Loudoun Lyric Opera, Opera Camerata of Washington, Opera in the Heights, and the AIMS Opera Orchestra. She is a frequent performer in the Baltimore/Washington area and has considerable experience on the concert and musical theatre stage. She earned her MM degree from the University of Houston and a BM degree from Towson University. She just completed her DMA at the University of Maryland, and was most recently the Voice Division Leader and Lecturer in Voice at Towson University.
Jonathan Caldwell, Assistant Professor of Conducting and Assistant Director of Instrumental Ensembles: Prior to his appointment at UNC Greensboro, Jonathan held positions at Virginia Tech, the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point, and Garner Magnet High School (Raleigh, NC), and conducted the Triangle Youth Brass Ensemble. His writings have been published in the Journal of Band Research and the Teaching Music Through Performance in Band series. He received his DMA from the University of Michigan, an MM degree from the University of Maryland, and MA and BM degrees from UNC Chapel Hill. Last winter he co-lead “Unlocking Student Musicianship in the Large Ensemble” at The Midwest Clinic.
Andrew Duff, Visiting Assistant Professor of Lighting Design: A native of the Pacific Northwest, Andrew is an educator and freelance lighting designer of theatre, dance, opera, and music based out of Louisville, KY. For the past 25 years, Andrew has designed over 150 productions in the greater Seattle area and the Midwest region, as well as internationally. Andrew received his BFA in theatre from Western Kentucky University and his MFA in theatre design from the University of Illinois. From 2008 to 2017, Andrew was Associate Professor of Lighting Design, Sound Design, and State Management; and Production Coordinator at Western Kentucky University. Andrew’s lighting design portfolio can be viewed on his website.
Jehann Gilmann, Lecturer and Hair, Wig, and Makeup Specialist: Jehann is a wig maker and makeup artist who has been active in the wig industry for 13 years. She has worked in a variety of industries, including theater, opera, film, cosplay, as well as occasionally making wigs for private clients suffering medical hair loss. She has worked and designed for Actors Theatre of Louisville, South Coast Repertory, Montana Shakespeare in the Park, St. Petersburg Opera Company, Pasadena Playhouse, Opera Memphis, Nashville Opera, Opera Saratoga, Utah Shakespeare Festival, and Utah Festival Opera. Jehann holds a BM degree from St. Lawrence University and a MFA from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Her artistry may be seen on her website.
Teresa Heiland, Associate Professor of Dance Education: Teresa works at the intersection of the performing arts, education, dance science and wellness, body image, and dance literacy. She has authored articles and chapters about use of motif notation in college choreography courses, effects of Hollywood media pressures on college dance majors, and how dance training is affected by imagery interventions during training. For the past 15 years she was on the faculty at Loyola Marymount University. Teresa holds a BFA from Kuztown University of Pennsylvania, an MA from New York University, a Certificate from Institut Seni Indonesia Yogyakarta, and a PhD from New York University. Her publications are available at lmu.academia.edu/TeresaHeiland.
Annie Jeng, Assistant Professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy: Annie’s essential goal as an artist is to make communities richer and more meaningful through the arts. To that end, she strives to make music accessible to audiences of all backgrounds by expanding and rethinking the traditional recital format to include interdisciplinary and interactive elements, all with the aim of encouraging audiences to engage with the artistic experience. Annie received her BM from New York University, an MM from the University of Michigan where she recently completed a DMA degree. Videos of her performances are available on her website, and she is also a member of the piano and percussion duo Back Pocket Duo.
Garrett Klein, Lecturer in Trumpet: Garrett has performed across the United States and Asia as a soloist, chamber player, and orchestral musician. He is a member of the Dallas Brass, an internationally recognized touring brass ensemble that has mastered a wide range of musical styles. Garrett has also performed with the Rodney Marsalis Philadelphia Big Brass, the Phoenix Symphony, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, the New World Symphony, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra. He holds a DMA and MM from Arizona State University, and a BM from St. Olaf College. Videos of his performances are available on his website.
Karen Messina, Lecturer in Music Theory: Karen earned her BA from Elon University, an MM in voice performance and an MM in music theory from UNC Greensboro, and is currently a PhD candidate at Duke University completing a dissertation titled “Dramatic Impulse: Diegetic Music in the Operas of Giacomo Puccini.” Her research interests include the analysis and interpretation of operatic and vocal music in an effort to determine how these genres express, support, and augment their texts. She has presented her research at meetings of Music Theory Southeast, chapter meetings of the American Musicological Society, and at graduate student colloquia at New School University and Duke University. Her profile on Duke Scholars is available here.
Jennifer Reis, Assistant Professor of Arts Administration: Jennifer joins the CVPA faculty after 19 years at Morehead State University where she was Gallery Director of the Golding-Yang Art Gallery, Coordinator and Faculty in the Arts Entrepreneurship & Administration Minor Program, and founder of the Morehead State University Arts and Humanities Council. She holds an MA in Museum Studies from Syracuse University, and an MA in Studio Art with an Art Education emphasis and a BFA in Studio Art from the Columbus College of Art & Design. She previously held positions at the Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center, the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, and the Columbus Museum of Art. Her fiber art can be viewed on her website.
Alfonso Atiba Rorie, Lecturer and Dance Music Coordinator: Djembe master, guitarist and songwriter Atiba Rorie earned his BA in Music from UNC Greensboro in 2007. Since that time he has served as an Adjunct Faculty member at Winston Salem State University leading a West African dance class, a Guest Lecturer at the Atlanta African Dance and Drum Festival, a Guest Lecturer at Radford University in West African Dance and Music, and an Adjunct Professor at Guilford College in West African drumming. As a dance accompanist for modern and West African dance, he has worked at the American Dance Festival since 2008 and at UNC Greensboro since 2006. He is the founder, percussionist, and bandleader for Africa Unplugged.
Nicole Scalissi, Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art History: Nicole is a historian of modern and contemporary art, and her research focuses on artists working in the United States since the 1970s who stage or simulate violent acts, often for an unsuspecting viewer, to call attention to the prevalence of real violence that disproportionately affects women and people of color—marginalized communities with which the artists identify. She earned a BA from the University of Pittsburgh, an MA from Pennsylvania State University, and has just completed her PhD from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a regular contributor to Contemporaneity and served as co-editor in chief for its fifth edition. Her publications are available at uncg.academia.edu/NicoleScalissi.
Olukayode Talabi, Lecturer in New Media and Design: Olukayode is a digital animator, videographer, and art instructor. He earned his BA in Animation and Game Design from Living Arts College, and an MFA in Art and Design from North Carolina State University. As a freelance graphic artist for Rucci Productions, he has developed animated graphic design elements for short films and worked on 3D simulations also for short films. As an Adjunct Instructor at CVPA since 2018 he has taught courses in 3D modeling and animation in Autodesk Maya, Foundation of Design, Motion Graphics, and Videography. His film productions and 3D animations can be viewed on his website.
Joyce King (MFA 2017) will be exhibiting work and encourages everyone to come and see what she’s been working on over the past two years.
- May 25 – November 2, 2019- “Southern Strands: NC Fiber Art” at BRAHMJ (The Blowing Rock Museum of Art and History) (Opening October 25 @ 4:30pm)
- October 10 – February 16, 2020 – “Coined in the South,” an exhibition at The Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC (Opening October 10 @ 7:00pm)
- October 25 – January 5, 2020 – “Thread by Thread: Stories in Fiber and Fabric,” at ArtWorks Gallery, Richmond, VA – A solo exhibition (Opening October 25 @ 6:00pm)
In addition to her upcoming exhibitions Joyce was also awarded the VCCA (Virginia Center for the Visual Arts) Artists Residency in Amerherst, VA.