Boyd Webb · Photographs

Boyd Webb uses dramatic lighting, exaggerated color, elaborate studio set-ups and his quirky imagination to create large-scale photographs of a world gone awry — a landscape where ecology teeters on the brink of apocalypse.

Webb, a native of New Zealand who has been working in London for more than 20 years, is among a number of contemporary photographers whose chief mode of expression is the set-up scene. The practice of photographing fictitious displays became popular in the late 1970s. As carefully staged as commercial photographs or movies, Webb's work, often referred to as photoart, seems to hover somewhere between science fiction and Surrealism.

"I construct images the way a painter composes a painting," Webb said in a 1988 interview. "In fact, I think of my pieces as artworks in a general sense more than as photographs pure and simple." Although Webb's photographs make strong statements, he is neither a crusader nor a moralizer.

Webb was born in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1947 and attended the Ilam School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury. He also studied sculpture at the Royal College of Art, London.

The exhibition at JCCC includes photographs on loan from private collections. Webb's work has been the focus recently of a retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and a one-person exhibition at the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C. 

The gallery guide features an essay by Sidney Lawrence, public affairs officer, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

We are deeply grateful to Boyd Webb for his assistance with this exhibition. His insight, enthusiasm and warm humor greatly facilitated the organization of the show. We would also like to thank the private collectors and galleries who generously agreed to loan their works. In particular, we are most appreciative of the support of Antonio Homem and Laura Bloom of Sonnabend Gallery, New York; Ruth Bloom of Ruth Bloom Gallery, Santa Monica, California; Robin Vousden of Anthony d'Offay Gallery, London; and Jennifer Vorbach of Citibank, New York.