Jon Campbell & Stephen Bush
Gone Dead

Edition of 500
420 x 297mm
4 pages

Essay: Lisa Sullivan
Design: Alex Ward
Publication Coordinator: Brigid Moriarty

In Gone Dead, Lisa Sullivan charts the formation of Jon Campbell and Stephen Bush’s friendship alongside the concurrent Melbourne independent music scene. This text reveals how each artists shared connection to music cemented their friendship, moulded their careers, and eventually led to their creative collaboration.

Gone Dead was produced to coincide with collaborative exhibitions between Stephen Bush and Jon Campbell, presented at both Sutton Gallery, Melbourne and Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney, in 2021.

Artist biographies:

Jon Campbell was born in Northern Ireland in 1961 and migrated to Australia in 1964. He currently lives in Melbourne and was a lecturer in painting at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) 1999-2017. Campbell studied painting at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (1980-82) before completing a Graduate Diploma in Painting at the VCA in 1985. He was a studio artist at 200 Gertrude Street in Melbourne from 1986 to 1987. From 1988 to 1992 Campbell regularly exhibited at Powell Street Gallery, Melbourne, and from 1995 to 2000, he exhibited at Robert Lindsay Gallery, Melbourne. He has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally over the past 35 years.

Campbell has staged performances and recordings with his own band gloss enamel (formed 1997), Olympic Doughnuts, (Jon Campbell and Matt Griffin, formed 2009)) and PAMELA (with Minna Gilligan and Georgina Glanville, formed 2011). He published his monograph ‘Jon Campbell’ with Uplands Gallery in 2010, the artist book’s, ‘setlist’ with the Narrows in 2009, ‘Lettering’ with the Narrows 2015 and ‘it’s a world full of lying bastards’ with Ilam Press, NZ, 2019, ‘No Planet B’ published by Bronwyn Johnson, 2021.

Awards include, Western Roads Upgrade Commission, 2021, Monash University Studio Residency, Prato, Italy (2019), Greene Street Studio Residency NY, Australia Council (2015), Melbourne Art Trams, Melbourne Festival (2013), The Basil Sellers Art Prize (2012), the Melbourne Art Foundation Commission (2010); Australia Council Development grant (2009); New Work Grant, VACB, Australia Council, (2001); Development Grant, Arts 21, Arts Victoria (1991); Herald Sun Contemporary Art Prize, Melbourne (1995); Greene Street Studio, New York City, USA, VACB, The Australia Council, (1991).

With his use of words and phrases as imagery, Jon Campbell captures aspects of his culture that are both lived and observed, that are local, national and international and that can be spoken, written, sung, and read. Campbell’s masterfully realized paintings, cut-outs, banners, neon’s, flags and songs demonstrate his love of suburbia and it’s vernacular. Popular music, printing, design and sport also feature heavily in his practice. His works define not only the look of the world in which Campbell lives, but the accent and humour of its language and how signs can articulate its culture and history. These signs have a beauty and celebration about them that encourages belief.

Campbell is represented by Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney.

Stephen Bush graduated from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Fine Arts in 1978 and has since gone on to have a prolific professional career, recognized in Australia and beyond. Circular logic and self-imposed working methodologies inform his aesthetic approach to painting. The simple act of beholding remains fundamental to his artistic practice. He lives and works in rural Victoria, Australia.

Bush is represented by Sutton Gallery, Melbourne.

Available upon request.

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