An abstract painter with ties to Constructivism, Campbell turned to sculpture at age forty-one. His artistic training had ranged from academic to avant-garde, initially at Massachusetts School of Art in Boston, later with Leon Kroll and Gifford Beal at the National Academy of Design and at the Art Students League with then geometric abstractionist Vaclav Vytlacil. During World War II he worked as a machinist and mechanical designer. By 1954, having taken up direct carving, Campbell combined academic notions about three-dimensional form with a fascination for process that was typically Abstract Expressionist. Throughout the fifties he taught privately in his studio and did freelance industrial design and model making, while developing a body of sculpture to be shown in his first solo exhibition at Camino Gallery in 1960. Campbell’s teaching career included positions at Queens College, Silvermine College of Art in New Canaan, Connecticut, and the University of Maryland.
Virginia M. Mecklenburg Modern American Realism: The Sara Roby Foundation Collection (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press for the National Museum of American Art, 1987)
Kenneth Campbell graduated from Massachusetts College of Art and began his career as a painter. He became frustrated with the limitations of two dimensions, and even found himself looking at the back of his canvases in an attempt to see the work from a different angle. He began sculpting in stone in 1954, employing the technique of direct carving, which uses the patterns and colors in each piece of stone to inspire the final design. Campbell created several monumental site works, one of which is located at the University of Maryland, where he taught stone carving for fifteen years.