Where the exhibition takes on a magical tinge is with Home Movies Pause (David). Like the vertical band piece, this one throws us temporarily off balance with its electrical apparatus: a grid of wall-facing LEDs. Again, our follow-the-motion instinct kicks in, refocusing our gaze on what’s between the lines: a succession of shadow shapes (of families and frolicking children) that quickly merge into one big luminous dreamscape, like a filmic version of late Monet when he was half-blind painting water lilies. Regardless of whether you identify with idyllic scenes flashing before you, you may feel yourself regressing to the gaga state of an infant, dazzled by the primal sensations of shape, color and movement.
In Light Topography (Jane’s Pool), Campbell takes a different tack. He achieves an almost hallucinatory level of clarity by mounting single LEDs on the tips of variable-length dowels. Set perpendicular to the wall, they wink off and on, like electronic fireflies, moving in a pointillist swarm to form a negative image of a woman swimming across deep space. Less dramatic, but equally riveting, is Topography Reconstruction (Wave). It measures a scant 18 x 23 x 4 inches, and consists of a resin-cast seascape laid atop a film projection of breaking surf. It emits a dull light whose flickering, shadowy contours come closer to re-creating the quality of the wave-watching experience than any work of art I’ve seen. It does everything but emit bird cries and the briny smell of salt air and, like the film-activated sculptures of Tony Oursler, it stopped me in my tracks.