Joyce Campbell is a contemporary interdisciplinary artist and art educator in New Zealand. Working with historical and contemporary forms of photography, as well as video and sculpture, she examines natural and human systems, and their points of interaction.Read More
Born in New Zealand, Joyce Campbell studied for a BFA at the University of Canterbury's Ilam School of Fine Arts, graduating in 1992. In 1999 she graduated from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland, where she currently teaches as an associate professor. Her practice revolves around experiments with 19th-century photographic techniques such as ambrotypes and daguerreotypes.
The historical processes Campbell employs produce images that capture fine detail, texture, and other elements that contemporary methods do not. Using these methods alongside conventional analogue and digital cameras renders complex organic forms out of incremental processes of change, ranging from the macroscopic to the microscopic: from growing microbial colonies and the formation of crystals to glaciers migrating into the ocean.
Art has taken Joyce Campbell beyond New Zealand, enabling her to build up an extensive visual library of natural and human environments. Now predominantly Auckland-based, Campbell previously lived and worked in Southern California for a decade. In 2006 she also undertook a Creative New Zealand-funded artist residency in Antarctica.
The environments Joyce Campbell explores in search of subjects range from the raw ecological biomes of New Zealand forests and river gorges, the Pacific coral reefs, and the Californian desert, to human-impacted spaces such as California's brown-fields—land decimated and contaminated by intensive industry. The final outcome of Campbell's biological and ecological explorations are large-scale photographs and video installations that immerse viewers in those environments.
In her exhibitions, Campbell contextualises her photographs with insights from science, philosophy, and theology. There is often a strong underpinning in Māori philosophies, and reference to the guardians of the mountains, forests, and rivers in her home-region. The resultant exhibitions have been presented at venues around the world.
Over the past two decades, Joyce Campbell has been engaged in several public art projects in both the United States and New Zealand, including In the Ether (2015), which was commissioned by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority for the Union Station Photographic Lightbox Project.
On the Last Afternoon: Disrupted Ecologies and the Work of Joyce Campbell, Te Uru Waitākere Contemporary Gallery (2020); Flightdream, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū (2016); LA Botanical and Last Light: Antarctic Photographs and Daguerreotypes, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū (2010); Ice Falls, Antarctica, Dunedin Public Art Gallery (2008); Deep Down, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth (2001).
Emanations: The Art of the Cameraless Photograph, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth (2016); The Alchemists, Australian Centre for Photography, Melbourne (2015); Heavenly Bodies, Santa Barbara Museum of Art (2014); Che Mondo: What a World, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (2013); The Liquid Archive, Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne (2012); Alternate Routes, UCR/California Museum of Photography, Riverside (2002).
Michael Irwin | Ocula | 2020