The Social Animal Kingdom (2020) from the series TEXTUAL TAXONOMICS

Liza Campbell (1959-)

Tapestry embroidered in silk thread on washed linen. 30 editions
Framed in tulip wood with museum glass

66cm x 131cm in the frame


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Artist’s Note: “This is a study of how we employ animals to forge rough poetry when we describe each other. Why the French historically named their Crown Prince a dolphin is a mystery.”


The British have always found word play, in its myriad of invariably home-grown forms, an irresistible diversion. But with her current series of embroidered tapestries (each comprising over 360,000 stitches of silk thread on washed linen), Liza Campbell has created a new and original means of celebrating and revelling in the breadth, etymology, poetry, nostalgia, eccentricity and pure joy of the English language with each work collating a series of words and phrases (some formal, some colloquial; some familiar, some abstruse; some playful, some dark; some archaic, some definingly modern) into a category and under a title of her own invention. It’s a process, indeed a new technique of verbal classification Liza calls TEXTUAL TAXONOMICS. The resulting artworks are beautiful, intriguing, witty and insightful. Unread, the intricately-rendered panel of Caslon typeface letters offer a gloriously subtle mosaic of craft and colour. Digested into words and phrases, the tableaus remind us how language has come to reflect and record the endless complexities of heart and mind in all of us.

Liza Campbell is a London-based artist, born in the Highlands of Scotland and raised at Cawdor Castle. Known for her re-worked, sardonically-quipped watercolours of antique etchings and photographs, her artistic practice has also included engraving, calligraphy and collage. She has exhibited at the All Saints gallery, Sladmore gallery, Michael Naimsky gallery, Temple gallery, the Great W Space gallery, London Art Fair, Affordable Art Fair, Art on Paper NY, Print Fair NY, Rebecca Hossack gallery and does private commissions.