Skip to Content

In the Ether (archived)


Project Description

This selection of photographs, titled In the Ether (2015), by Joyce Campbell documents the flora from two local sites: Crown Coach Yard, a 40-acre industrial brownfield in downtown Los Angeles, and the canyons around the artist’s home in Glassell Park. The artworks expand upon Campbell’s ongoing series LA Botanical, which presents a photographic archive of the functional plants that inhabit Los Angeles. The images are produced onsite using a century-old field camera and an early photographic process called wet plate, which was invented in 1850, the same year that the city of Los Angeles was incorporated. The plant life depicted in Campbell’s black-and-white portraits are primarily wildings and weeds that persist on the edges of urbanity and were originally cultivated by the area’s earliest settlers and indigenous peoples. Emphasizing the substantial changes that have occurred within the landscape and ecology of Los Angeles since the city’s founding, the collection of images intends to highlight the many, largely forgotten, uses for these botanic specimens, ranging from food, medicine and weaponry as well as ceremonial and spiritual purposes.

These artworks are part of a Metro Art Photo Lightbox Series exhibition were on view through spring 2016 in the passageway connecting Union Station East and West.

Statement

“My intention is to sensitize my audience to what is around them that is verdant, unruly, persistent and strong, but which is also staggering under the weight of humanity’s collective abuse.”

About the Artist

JOYCE CAMPBELL (b. 1971, New Zealand) earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Canterbury University and Master of Fine Arts from the University of Auckland, where she is pursuing a doctoral degree in creative practice. She has lectured at a number of universities, including California State University, Northridge, Claremont Graduate University, Scripps College, the University of Auckland Elam School of the Arts and the University of California, Irvine. Her interdisciplinary work has been included in solo and group exhibitions throughout the Los Angeles region and in New Zealand. Campbell is the recipient of grants from the Durfee Foundation and the University of California, and is a fellow of Antarctica New Zealand’s Artists to Antarctica program.