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Jim Campbell: 4 Works

Hosfelt Gallery
531 West 36th Street, 212-563-5454
Hell's Kitchen
February 3 - March 12, 2011
Reception: Thursday, February 3, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

Hosfelt Gallery will exhibit four new, museum-scaled pieces by Jim Campbell. The work will utilize custom L.E.D. technology – for which the M.I.T. educated artist is renowned – in new configurations as he continues his exploration of the limits of human understanding. This is Campbell’s ninth solo exhibition with Hosfelt Gallery and second solo exhibition in Hosfelt Gallery’s New York space.

Jim Campbell makes innovative works that have set standards for art made with technology for more than twenty years. But what makes his work unique is that Campbell’s media and message are inseparable. He uses technologies developed for information transfer and storage to explore human perception and memory.

In signature works, pixilated representations created with grids of L.E.D.s have such low perceived resolution as to defy comprehension. Exploring the line between representation and abstraction, Campbell plumbs the human ability to interpret information and “fill in the gaps” necessary to create a complete idea. His exploration of the distinction between the analogue world and its digital representation is a metaphor for the human talent for poetic understanding or “knowledge” as opposed to the mathematics of “data.”

While Campbell’s works typically use flat grids of evenly-spaced L.E.D.s, he has recently begun to “pull apart” two-dimensional imagery – presenting it in a three-dimensional format. His outdoor installation, “Scattered Light,” on view in New York’s Madison Square Park through the end of February, is one such piece.

One of the installations at Hosfelt Gallery uses the same materials as “Scattered Light”- hundreds of old-fashioned light bulbs (with their insides removed and replaced by LED technology). In the new piece, the bulbs hang suspended, all at the same height, floating in a plane seven feet off the floor. The viewer, unable to gain the distance required to understand the image created by the flickering lights, nonetheless comprehends the rhythms they create. Another piece takes a dizzying departure from Campbell’s typically rigid grids. By exponentially expanding the space between the L.E.D.s as the wall-scaled piece moves from left to right, Campbell creates a physical emblem of the phenomenon of peripheral vision.

In another new configuration, Campbell randomly scatters 21 separate grids of 364 L.E.D.s each across a large wall. Imagery seems to move through and between the panels of pixels, requiring the viewer to negotiate negative space in their search for meaning.

Jim Campbell was born in Chicago in 1956 and lives in San Francisco. He received degrees in Mathematics and Engineering from MIT in 1978. He transitioned from filmmaking to interactive video installations in the mid-1980s and has been working with L.E.D. technology since 1999. In New York, his work is in the collections of MoMA, The Whitney Museum of American Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. His work has been collected and exhibited extensively by museums internationally.

In November of 2011, Campbell will install a three-dimensional L.E.D. work commissioned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art that will fill the atrium of the museum.
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