Jim Campbell: Rhythms of Perception


Jim Campbell: Rhythms of Perception at the Museum of the Moving Image, March 21 – June 1

Guest Curator: Steve Dietz

Jim Campbell’s art gets under your skin. Standing in the middle of the gallery, you can see nearly all of his work. The odd thing is that for much of it, as you get closer, the work becomes more abstract. As you move back, it comes more clearly into focus. There is something magical about this, like finally locking in on the stars of a constellation in the vast night sky, suddenly recognizable as a dipper or belt or chair. But only barely. Waveringly. Profoundly.

San Francisco-based artist Jim Campbell is a pioneer in the use of digital technology in art, creating custom computer chips and electronics for most of his works. Born in 1956 in Chicago, Campbell graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with degrees in electrical engineering and mathematics. A former Silicon Valley engineer, with more than a dozen patents in the field of video image processing, he turned to visual art in the late 1980s. He became interested in the brain’s ability to recognize a scene or identify the human form with minimal information.

While Campbell’s work is partly autobiographical, incorporating family portraits and home movie footage, it also elicits a personal response from the viewer, as the primitive visuals trigger an impulse to imagine and insert personal memories into the image.

Jim Campbell: Rhythms of Perception presents 29 years of Campbell’s work, from his first experimental film to his most recent self portrait. These works reveal a portrait of the artist as inventor, as technician, as engineer, as scientist, and ultimately as artist.

Jim Campbell: Rhythms of Perception is organized by guest curator Steve Dietz, Founder and Artistic Director of Northern Lights.mn.

This exhibition is made possible with generous support from Andrew H. Tisch and an anonymous donor. The Museum also gratefully acknowledges the City of New York for ongoing support.