On the Last Afternoon: Disrupted Ecologies and the Work of Joyce Campbell is a major retrospective of the career of photo-media artist from New Zealand Joyce Campbell open in Adam Art Gallery, Wellington until October 20th, 2019.
Curated by contemporary art historian John C. Welchman, the exhibition showcases the diverse range of Campbell’s work and the versatility of her medium and her subject matters. Exploring a variety of themes from philosophy and politics to environmentalism and science fiction, On the Last Afternoon is the first to examine Campbell’s almost 30 year-long practice, presenting 130 of her works, which she describes as “a meditation on the interdependence of physical systems.”
Originally from the North Island, Campbell’s adventurous spirit has taken her across the world from the green wilderness of her New Zealand home, across the desert wastelands of California to the icy tundras of Antarctica and into the depth of the ocean’s to the coral reefs. Profoundly moved by the different landscapes she experienced, Campbell has employed a range of different approaches to capturing the subtlety of their beauty, intricacy, and endurance of life on the brink of peril.
Having dismissed modern photography practices as too regularized and unable to convey the nuance and essence of life, the artist extensively experiments with different methods from photography’s 2 century-long history such as wet plate collodions, ambrotypes, daguerreotypes, and gelatin silver photographs. She believes these techniques are able to communicate more authenticity, intensity, and fullness of the natural phenomena, and at the same time have the intrinsic capacity to create traces in silver and either adding to the character of the photograph. Studying a variety of subjects from microscopic to global through the prism of the different image capture techniques, Campbell aims to illustrate the complex interdependent relationship of ecological, spiritual, and representational systems.