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Peter Campus: Existentialism and a Half-life in Video

February 23 – March 23, 2012

Monroe-Brown Gallery

Don Desmett, Curator

Peter Campus a seminal figure in the history of electronic media art. Since the early 1970s, Campus has created pioneering video installations, single-channel works, and digital still photographs. He was born in 1937 in New York City and lives and works in East Patchogue, New York. After studying psychology at Ohio State University, Campus began working for television. Influenced by Bruce Nauman's early single-channel video works shown at Castelli Gallery in 1969, Campus began his career as an artist in 1971 with a series of single-channel works called "Dynamic Fields Series." In 1972 he began to show his pioneering video installations, using monitors, live cameras, and projectors without any recording device.

Since 1972 Campus has had one-person shows at numerous institutions, including the Bykert, Leo Castelli, and Paula Cooper Galleries, New York; the Everson Museum, Syracuse, NY; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the High Museum, Atlanta; the Neue Berliner Kunstverein; the Kölnischer Kunstverein; and the Kunsthalle Bremen. His works have also been included in major exhibitions such as the São Paulo Biennale (1975), Documenta 6 (1977), Venice Biennale (1978), Biennale de Lyon (1995), and the Whitney Biennial (1993 and 2002). Campus has been a professor of art in the Department of Art and Art Professions, New York University since 1983. Campus is represented by Christin Tierney Gallery, NYC.

Campus's new pieces are quiet meditations on the passage of time and humanity's place in the natural world. An unrepentant formalist, Campus' s manipulation of color and form belies a sophisticated sensibility comparable to that of historic figures such as Cézanne and Corot. But his use of cutting edge technology gives these videos a freshness that positions the work squarely in the twenty first century. Slow and deliberate in movement, sound, and shifts of light, these pieces exert a hypnotic effect upon the viewer. Floating somewhere between expressionist painting and pixilated animation, this new body of work serves to remind us of why Campus is considered a seminal figure in the history of video and new media art. Along with this series of new works will be two groundbreaking video installations from the early 1970's.