Erica Campitelli first fell in love with painting in high school, under the teachings of Michelle Root. It was all about Monet until Klimt, Pollock, Krasner and De Kooning were introduced. Her appreciation for art only grew as the years passed, expanding a personal preference for impressionism to that of abstract expressionism. She took a few art courses at the University of Western Ontario and the University of Toronto, although her specialization is in Socio-Cultural Anthropology. Erica believes that we are our experiences. Inspired by her everyday surroundings, from conversations with strangers to viewing other bodies of work, to hiking, influence takes on many forms.
She has exhibited her work at the Artsideout Festival at UTSC, the Annual Juried Exhibit at UTSC, the Toronto Art Crawl in Liberty Village, The Freedom Factory’s Pop Up on Queen East, Queen West Art Crawl in Trinity Bellwoods, Slanted Door on Bloor West, Paula White Diamond Art Gallery in Waterloo, Ebar in Guelph, the Legislative Building in Queens Park, Mercury Espresso in Leslieville, The Starving Artist on Mount Pleasant, T.art Gallery in Port Carling, Black Lab Brewing in Leslieville, Headwaters Arts in Caledon, Louie Craft Coffee in Liberty Village, Poured Coffee on the Danforth, TVX in Kensington, and M Worldwide in Thornhill.
Abstract painting is her way of being present. It allows her to shut out all distractions while she explores motion and colour. In the studio, she gives no consideration to time or its constraints. She doesn't think, she does. And, while she never starts with a pre-conceptualized vision, once a painting is complete she can make sense of it and find meaning. With a canvas, she takes something that is blank and creates a personal narrative. Whatever she is wrestling with gets sorted, resolved, alleviated or elevated. So, for her, painting is a form of meditation, an escape, and ultimately her therapy.
There is a quote by Thomas Merton that resonates with her. He states that, “art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time”. Merton explains how the production of art is a transitional state, and is therefore representative of liminality. While painting she feels she reaches this in-between state. It’s trance like, all-consuming and ultimately a safe space to explore. She believes it’s where her mind, body, and soul are able to connect.
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This painting speaks to my time spent in Australia. I was there on vacation a decade ago. Snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef was such a magical experience. I am forever grateful of my time spent with family swimming in the deep blue. With climate change posing the greatest threat, I am not sure it will be the same when and if I ever make it back there. I worry of the mass coral bleaching and what it will do to the eco systems living down under. This artwork serves as a fond memory of what was, and a curiosity of what will come to be.