The 2018 PMA Biennial Spotlight: Rosamond Purcell

The 2018 PMA Biennial Spotlight: Rosamond Purcell

While the 2018 PMA Biennial is on view, we're sharing profiles of curators and participating artists to bring you a closer look into the show. Circle back for more Biennial spotlights here on the blog, and don't miss  the guide to Biennial programs featuring artist talks and special events like this weekend's film and appearance by Rosamond Purcell. And while you're at it, pick yourself up a copy of the catalogue, only $14.95 online or in the PMA Store!

This Thursday at 6 p.m., 2018 PMA Biennial artist Rosamond Purcell comes to the PMA for a special screening of the 2016 documentary about her, "An Art That Nature Makes: The Work of Photographer Rosamond Purcell," and to speak after the film. If you can't make it on Thursday evening, fret not: the movie screens five times all weekend. Check out showtimes and get your tickets today!

In A.O. Scott's New York Times Critics Pick review, he says Purcell's work "recalls a time when the visual arts were often closely linked to scientific inquiry and philosophical speculation, [using] her camera to accomplish a more radical species of time travel." Visitors to the 2018 PMA Biennial are treated to a full installation that goes beyond photography and demonstrates the full range of her practice and her insterests.

Purcell’s extraordinary, sepia-toned installation of found objects, collected photographs, and collages brings together "disparate materials that connect the sense of dailyness to the dangerous missions undertaken by soldiers in World War 1, particularly by the pilots." It reflects work she did in the 1980s while exploring a junkyard in Owls Head, Maine and photographing at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard. It holds a specific focus on WW1 pilots, the aerial perspective they saw, the horrors of war they encountered, and the personal mementos they carried with them. The installation also notably and evocatively features an antique book that Purcell found in Owls Head, which had been made into a nest by a small animal.

Purcell's unique work over the decade has earned her notice from admirers ranging from magician Ricky Jay to documentarian Errol Morris to scientist Stephen Jay Gould. Many of them appear in An Art That Nature Makes, and have collaborated with her on books, several of which are available in the PMA Store. Purcell's practice contains such depth that it requires an installation, books, and a film just to scratch the surface. We hope you join us in exploring them.

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February 27, 2018
Brand Manager

Robert is a native of Winslow, Maine, and a graduate of Boston’s Emerson College. After spending years as a screenwriter in New York City and an arts journalist in Santa Fe, he moved back to Maine to raise a family in 2008. He currently lives in Portland’s Back Cove with his wife, who owns a business up the street from the PMA, and two young sons.