press release

Opening Reception Friday September 14th 6-9pm

Neil Campbell and Peter Schuyff go way back, both as painters and as friends. Over the years, the two have had adjoining studios in both New York and Vancouver and, often over coffee and cigarettes, have shared views and, (good-naturedly), disagreements on what it means to make pictures. Naturally, cross-pollination occurred. Opening on September 14th, 2007, Blanket is pleased to present an exhibition highlighting the different practices and commonalities of Neil Campbell and Peter Schuyff. This is both artists' first exhibition with the gallery.

Neil Campbell was born in Saskatchewan and currently lives and works in Vancouver. His work has appeared in galleries and institutions in Canada, the United States and abroad, including the Vancouver Art Gallery (for which, in 2005/2006, he produced the remarkable BASE/MACHINE, a light installation in the gallery facade; Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver; The Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; Art and Public, Geneva; Centre d'art Contemporain, Montreal; and Andrea Rosen in New York. He recently had a solo exhibition at Galeria Franco Noero in Turin, Italy.

Known for his often enormous renderings of simplified geometric shapes featuring dots, rings and parabolas in impenetrable black and violent fluorescents, Campbell's work has been described as being able to provoke an almost heart-stopping physiological reaction from viewers. Experimentation, however, has also been a constant part of Campbell's mandate. Concurrent with this show at Blanket, Vancouver's Contemporary Art Gallery will feature Double, an edition of decal images of tires

The works Campbell presents in the current show are on a smaller scale, but lack none of the command or stateliness of his larger pieces. In one, acid yellow rings, filled in with his trademark blazing orange, announce themselves against a field of saturated black. In another, somewhat more tranquil, piece, a thin ring of the same yellow appears against a background of royal blue. For those familiar with Campbell's wall-based works (for example, his paintings and decals), it will come as some surprise to find these newer works mounted atop custom-made tripods. Anthropomorphically designed, tilting the images slightly towards the gaze of the viewer, these tripods liberate the work from the wall and therefore liberate us as well, allowing us to enjoy the pieces in a different, almost "free-floating" context. The use of the tripod also lends a faint aroma of the lascivious (one could almost think fleetingly to Michael Powell's notorious film “Peeping Tom”.

Born in Baarn, Holland in 1958, Peter Schuyff spent much of his youth in Victoria and Vancouver, before moving to New York and establishing himself in the 1980's as one of the younger art generation's stellar talents. His work has been featured at galleries and institutions including Pat Hearn, Tony Shafrazi, Leo Castelli and Paul Kasmin galleries in New York; Larry Gagosian Gallery in Los Angeles; Nicola Jacobs Gallery in London; Galeria Lenarco in Torino, Italy; and Akira Ikeda Gallery, in Nagoya, Japan, as well as at the Vancouver Art Gallery's hugely successful PAINT exhibition (2006-2007).

Schuyff distinguished himself in the 1980's with his huge, polychromatic grids and smaller, pattern-based watercolour works. Over the years, he has expanded his repertoire to include working with found paintings and drawings, as well as a series of helix-like wooden sculptures, all the while marrying mathematical order with an almost egregious sense of voluptuousness, appetite, and wit.

In his latest paintings Schuyff represents a series of found drawings embellished with his signature "riffs", deftly rendered in gouache: fields of dots, both regular and irregular; bars, ribbons, loops, cartoon clouds and abstracted grids. Beyond the initial gleeful shock of being witness to the quasi-defacement of the delicate images, lies the viewer's realization that the incorporation of these motifs goes beyond the graffiti gesture. It in fact reveals how the drawings stand as a source of inspiration. In noticing the slight wandering of the brush stroke that articulates the invading forms, we become aware of the passage of time. We see the work as something subtler than a joke or a display of the optical pyrotechnics for which Schuyff is known. The result is oddly (and, unnervingly) touching.

Campbell and Schuyff, in addition to having painted in Vancouver at the same time, have also taught in Vancouver at the same time. A new generation of exciting young artists such as Eli Bornowsky and Charlie Roberts are bringing up the rear, in the wake of their influence. However, for both Neil Campbell and Peter Schuyff, the most important thing they share is the pleasure of the picture, the desire to entertain. And in that, they certainly succeed.

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Peter Schuyff & Neil Campbell