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Sara Schneckloth

Work by Joyce Campbell

LA Botanical - tintype photographs

Joyce Campbell is a multidisciplinary artist working in photography, installation sculpture and time based media. She is originally from New Zealand and has lived in Los Angeles for five years. She has a Masters degree in Fine Arts with a theoretical dissertation from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, having completed one year of that degree at the University of California at San Diego. She lectures in studio art at the University of California, Irvine and California State University, Northridge and produces occasional work as a freelance curator and art writer. Joyce exhibited throughout New Zealand during the 1990's and has in the last six years has also produced much of her work in Australia and the United States. Her work was included in Every Day: The 11th Biennale of Sydney (AUS, 1998) and the 3rd Asia Pacific Triennial: Screen Culture Series (AUS,1999). She was the Taranaki Artist in Residence in 2001, producing the solo installation accompanying publication Deep Down (NZ, 2001). Recent group exhibitions include The Armory Installational (USA 2002), Alternate Routes (USA, 2002), Genius Loci (USA, 2002), +64 (Germany, 2002), Dead Ringer (NZ, 2003) and Dirty Pixels (NZ 2003). She is represented by Starke White Gallery (Auckland NZ) and Paul MacNamara Gallery (Wanganui, NZ)

Meghan Doherty

Campbell situates her work at the intersection of three phenomena of the 1850s: tintype photography, Marxist economic theory, and the birth of LA. This crossroads is made manifest in the production of tintypes of botanical specimens present in LA in the early 21st century that have a “documented use.” [The four images show: a passionflower, a cactus (I’m not sure what type of cactus it is), a ricinus, and a species of datura.] Her focus on specimens present in LA today mixed with her use of a technology that was (to use her term) ubiquitous during LA’s big period of growth in the late nineteenth century raises a number of different trans issues. What is the connection between plants being transplanted and people being transplanted? She presents non-native species as example of useful plants growing in LA and connects the images to “Marx’s admonition that industrialized peoples must remain aware of our reliance on natural systems for survival.” In addition, she references a period in LA’s history that saw a major surge in population. So, how can we unpack the relationship of transplanted people to a “natural system” built of transplanted plants? Similarly, how does a transplanted person learn to use transplanted plants? Also, how do we understand the transhistorical aspect of her work? How can those living in LA today understand the role of any of these plants in a historical natural system? What sorts of systems did these plants exist in previously? What plants used to be part of the natural system in LA that are gone now because of other waves of transplantation?

Leslie Jonely

I think the whole concept behind L.A. Botanical is really interesting. I am curious as to how the process came about and how it works. The relation between the plants and the people coming into L.A. is really neat. As the plant population is changing and growing, so are the people of L.A. Reading the explantion gave me a whole new insight on the photographs.


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