Artist and lecturer
Jon Campbell has been practising as an artist for more than three decades. For many years, he was also a lecturer in the painting department at the Victorian College of the Arts, which was where he first met Kenny Pittock. “He was serious about what he was doing at art school,” Campbell remembers. “He was looking at things, talking about things, he was engaged.”
Even at that early stage, Campbell saw Pittock’s wit and feel for drawing and sculpting, and the two kept in touch after art school. Then, in 2017, Campbell was selected to exhibit in the Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize.
It’s an unusual invitational award. The first round of selected artists is asked to nominate an emerging artist to also take part. Campbell chose Pittock, who went on to win both the emerging artist and people’s choice prizes for Fifty-two found shopping lists written by people who need milk.
“Things all came together in that work,” says Campbell. It was a great idea, enhanced by the decision to turn the ephemeral scraps of paper into ceramics.
He was also impressed by Pittock’s ambition in making so many, drawing out a sense of community from the individual lists. “He’s got a nice way of finding those interesting details in things,” he says.
Director, Hugo Michell Gallery
“Kenny Pittock approaches his practice with genuine enthusiasm and quick wit, offering a refreshing perspective on the world,” says gallerist Hugo Michell, who is holding Pittock’s first Adelaide solo exhibition this May. It will cap a busy five months for Pittock, including a major exhibition at Mona Foma in Launceston, seeing his work on the cover of the national magazine The Monthly, a solo exhibition in Melbourne with MARS Gallery and a group exhibition in Sydney at Home@735.
“Kenny has a very active online presence through social media [@kennypittock] and the upkeep of his blog [kennypittock.blog- spot.com]. He extends his practice through these platforms; his online voice is a performative addition to the physical objects he makes,” says Michell.
Last year, after the gallery had already approached Pittock about a solo presentation, Michell invited him into a group exhibition called WORD. It drew together a variety of artists working with text, including Pittock’s former teacher Jon Campbell. “The exhibition was a great opportunity to work with a large group of artists, something we rarely do in a commercial space. Kenny was an obvious choice to be included in WORD. He has a unique approach to language.” Michell says that Pittock’s work in WORD received a “strong response from visitors, who connected with the sincerity in his work”.
This artist was originally published in Art Collector issue 88, APR – JUN 2019.