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Urban investigates the psychological impact of changing urban landscapes on community wellbeing says artist Michelle Campbell.

Urban development focus of art exhibition

By Claire Ottaviano

MICHELLE Campbell is making her solo exhibition debut with Urban, a commentary on the impacts of urban sprawl and subdivisions on communities.

On display at Mundaring Arts Centre from June 5 to August 1, Campbell’s contemporary paintings explore how development can often be at the detriment of communities and streetscapes.

“As Perth’s suburbs continue to grow, off-the-plan houses replace older homes, obliterating all sense of place and history and exchanging native environments for expanses of carbon copy banality,” she said.

Urban is a response to our changing suburbs and investigates the psychological impact of this change on our community wellbeing.”

Campbell’s paintings will be presented in the arts centre  amongst the sounds and symbols of suburban environments – artificial lawn and commonplace plastic outdoor chairs.

She said while the exhibition was a reflection of current hills subdivision issues, her work was applicable across Perth.

“I think it will resonate well with a local audience more than I realised, she said.

“When I started it was more about how urban planning affects our relationship to home within our community.

“You get these tiny subdivisions and because they’re small blocks everyone is living indoors and that sense of community is changing.

“It’s also about our relationship with home and the fear of the outside and things that happen within the home that affect the community, domestic violence, things we’re not aware of until it happens.”

Campbell has exhibited at Nyisztor Studio and PSAS and been a finalist in the York Botanical Art Prize, Minnawarra Art Awards, Portia Geach Memorial Award, City of Joondalup Invitation Art Prize, and the Black Swan Prize for Portraiture.

The artist also looks forward to the opportunity to discuss her work and ideas with gallery  visitors.

“Considerate planning is what’s required, do we have to raze the entire bushland to create new suburbs, was that really necessary,” she said.

“We don’t need to take every single tree away and plant new gardens when there was already that native land there.

“Inconsiderate planning does affect your wellbeing, it affects how you relate to community, how you relate to your space.”

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