Rosamond Purcell: Nature Stands Aside

The first comprehensive book in more than twenty years of the artist’s haunting and textural photographic work, published to accompany a major retrospective at the Addison Gallery of American Art.

A definitive monograph to accompany the first museum survey of the renowned photographer and conceptual artist Rosamond Purcell (b. 1942), known for her strangely beautiful, often unsettling photographs of objects from the natural and man-made world.
With more than 150 illustrations, the book reflects the breadth of the artist’s career from the late 1960s to the present day, and includes photographs, assemblages, collages, and installations that serve to illuminate and explore the shifting boundaries between art and science. From large-format Polaroid prints to objects rescued from obscurity, Purcell’s empathetic, evocative, multifaceted work explores the interstices between the unsettling and the sublime, the beautiful and the bizarre, the natural and the manufactured.
With thoughtful and insightful texts from an eclectic list of critical voices—including the acclaimed documentary filmmaker Errol Morris and the writer Christoph Irmscher—and featuring an interview between Purcell and fellow contemporary artist Mark Dion, this book rejuvenates the critical approach Purcell’s work and brings to light the evolution of a remarkable career.

About The Author

Gordon Wilkins is the Robert M. Walker Associate Curator of American Art at the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy, Andover. Mark Dion is an American conceptual artist living and working in New York. Christoph Irmscher is a writer and biographer, and the author of The Poetics of Natural History, with photographs by Rosamond Purcell. Errol Morris is an Academy Award–winning American documentary filmmaker. Belinda Rathbone is a writer, historian, and critic of photography.

  • Publish Date: September 13, 2022
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Category: Photography - Individual Photographers - Monographs
  • Publisher: Rizzoli Electa
  • Trim Size: 9-1/2 x 11
  • Pages: 208
  • US Price: $65.00
  • CDN Price: $85.00
  • ISBN: 978-0-8478-7228-2


"Throughout her more than 50-year practice, Purcell has collaborated with paleontologists, literary scholars, historians, museum curators and erudite magicians, and has drawn inspiration from iconoclastic sources, from a 13-acre junkyard in Maine to natural history museum collections from around the world. A pioneer of fine art color photography and an inspiration to a generation of artists from Mark Dion to Sally Mann, Purcell probes the actions of time and decay as elemental to the natural world and the human condition." —LIVE AUCTIONEERS

Author Bookshelf: Mark Dion