Mary-Ellen Campbell ~ New York


Mary-Ellen Campbell: "I am very interested in the aspect of our aging society and its accompanying issues of loss of earlier strengths, health and death itself. I believe art can convey something special about this later period that has a beauty and a sadness not accessible in the youthful era of life. As a result, my latest artwork and Book Art investigates obsolescence
and aging. I have started to write poetry and incorporate my poems in my books thus intertwining the visual and verbal arts. It is in this format that I bring my previous experiences together.

"I have continued to develop books that travel on both a physical and metaphysical journey. These themes are explored through personal history, aspects of aging, meanings across cultures and places, and concepts of nature. I make books with few and simple materials. I love to travel and produce portable art relating to my travel experiences and my observation of my themes in other places."


The First Snow
By Mary Ellen-Campbell
Sparrowbush, New York: Mary-Ellen Campbell, 2008. Edition of 20.

6 x 7"; 11 folios. Digital printing on vellum. Tyvek crown binding with handmade Japanese paper covers. Twig embellishment on front cover.

Mary-Ellen Campbell: "Poem with photo images of snow-covered nature, New York state."

... Nature reveals but conceals
    confusing in her capriciousness ...


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Haiku Sampler
By Mary Ellen-Campbell
Sparrowbush, New York: Mary-Ellen Campbell, 2008. Edition of 10.

4.75 x 8.25"; 8 pages. Six color drawings. Letterpress printed on various colored Somerset stock at the Center for Book Arts in New York. Bound in Tyvek with handmade Indian paper covers.

Letterpress reproduced original drawings by Mary-Ellen Campbell accompany her haiku poetry.

Two spathes gossip
revealing sexual exploits
... anticipating



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By Mary-Ellen Campbell
Miramonte, California: Mary-Ellen Campbell, 2007. Edition of 20.

7 x 4.5"; 42 pages. Printed with archival inks on an inkjet printer. Handsewn into a hand-colored tyvek concertina binding. Pamphlet stitch tied on the exterior. Photos and text by Mary-Ellen Campbell.

Mary-Ellen Campbell: "Grassroots was created on an artist residency at Stonehouse Residency in the Sierras in California. It was August and very dry. Everyday I walked from the house to the studio through fields of waving grasses. I had never seen such a variety. The owners were very concerned about the Star Thistle, an non-native species taking over the fields.It was a beautiful blue-green but very invasive, choking out the native grasses. Flies were imported to eat the thistle. At that time there was a lot of talk in the news about immigration reform. I saw the fields of natives and alien grasses as a metaphor for immigrants making their way into established society. I thought all the grasses were beautiful and complimented each other. But I could see the problems too.

"I shot digital photos of the different species and reinterpreted them in high contrast images resembling silkscreen. ... The pages are sewn into a hand-colored tyvek concertina binding with a pamphlet stitch tied on the exterior and flowing loosely like the grasses."

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By Mary Ellen-Campbell
Sparrowbush, New York: Mary-Ellen Campbell, 2007. One-of-a-Kind.

5.5 x 5.5 x 2"; 18 pages including covers. Altered board book. Materials: acrylic, pottery, photocopies.

The subject is obsolescence and aging. Campbell has cut a hole through a child's (presumably a child's) board book and attached a pottery shard to the last page, which juts though the hole. Each page contains a broken/pierced vase (collaged and/or painted) plus stamped text: "The broken shard inspires questions. Who can put the remnants together that tell our story? How we succeeded, suffered, survived? What is left when we are gone? Only the pieces of our lives. Do the archeologists know how much we loved?"


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Page last update: 02.11.11


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