On Wednesday October 10, the Youth Insights Artists met this fall’s Artist-in-Residence, sculptor Beth Campbell, for the first time. Campbell had prepared a PowerPoint presentation of her work. She went through the images chronologically, explaining where she started artistically and what her work is like today. Most of her pieces were installations, but she also showed us a wide range of mediums that she has worked in, including video and drawing.
Campbell seemed very relaxed during the time she spent with us in the Whitney Studio, laughing frequently. Before meeting her, I had been wary that a professional artist might be egotistical, but Campbell was extremely friendly and down-to-earth. The presentation was very interesting. She explained that her work has a lot to do with reality, and what we perceive versus what is real. Her pieces often trick the eye.
In her work, Campbell explores the subject of “continuity error” and of life being an ongoing continuity error. By “continuity error,” Campbell means a kind of interruption in reality or in perception. This happens in films, for instance, when something changes during a single scene—such as someone’s tie changing color because the scene was actually shot over the course of many days. Campbell’s art explores how this concept might extend to sculpture, installation, and the reality of our daily life.
Campbell also talked about her series of drawings, My Potential Future Based on Present Circumstances, in which she created tree-like maps by writing down all the possible choices she could make in her life and where they might take her. At the end of the session, we began to brainstorm our own “Potential Future” projects, which Campbell explained could use other media and even focus on potential futures that weren’t ours. The first meeting with Beth Campbell was very exciting and left me questioning what I have perceived—my own reality—and how my perceptions will change over the course of the semester.
By Arthur, Youth Insights Artist