The Rapidian

New GRAM exhibit forges natural forms from man-made origins

"Resisting Certainty" features Michigan artist Susan Goethel Campbell's examination of environment. Campbell will visit the museum for a gallery talk on Thursday March 20 at 7 p.m.
Campell arranged and rearranged each individual piece of sod as if creating a drawing on the floor.

Campell arranged and rearranged each individual piece of sod as if creating a drawing on the floor. /Susan Goethel Campbell, Ground, 2013, © Susan Geothel Campbell

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"Resisting Certainty"

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The Grand Rapids Art Museum opened a new exhibit on March 6 titled “Resisting Certainty” by Michigan artist, Susan Goethel Campbell. The exhibit runs through June 1.

Campbell, a multi-disciplinary artist, creates work in formats such as prints and drawings, video, installation. Her projects focus on themes of community and the environment.

For “Resisting Certainty,” Campbell has grown grass in discarded plastic containers. These forms of the grass along with the mass of roots and dirt retain the shape of the commercial packaging, creating an installation that reexamines the earth’s surface as if it were a man-made object. The sod pieces, which Campbell calls “grounds,” took several months to create. Once created, Cambell spent time arranging and rearranging each individual sod piece, as if creating a drawing on the floor.

“Campbell's work across the board is always thoughtful and compelling ... Her work explores the ideas of man-made versus natural forms and permanence versus ephemera," says museum Associate Curator Cindy Buckner. "Usually any kind of soil is prohibited in the galleries, due to the possibility of insects being carried in with it; however, the artist was conscientious in her use of sterilized soil and plants that had been dried and inert for a number of weeks, so that it would not pose any danger within the Museum. The use of this kind of material in an exhibition is completely new and exciting for GRAM."

There will be a reception for Campbell Thursday March 20 with a cash bar opening at 6 p.m. A gallery talk with the artist begins at 7 p.m. 

Campbell earned an MFA in printmaking from Cranbrook Academy of Art and taught studio art for 15 years at the College for Creative Studies (CCS) in Detroit. Her work is featured in private and public collections such as the National Museum of Women in the Arts, New York Public Library and the Detroit Institute of Arts.

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