Boyd Webb was born in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1947 and later settled in London, studying sculpture at the Royal College of Art in 1972. He lives and works in Brighton, UK.
He began to make life-casts of people in fibreglass, arranging them into scenes, but soon rejected the practice as costly and cumbersome and took to photography. The artist has said that he used photography because it was 'an essential tool of the age and that it is a flexible medium, capable of being stretched in many directions. Tolerant of much abuse it always retains an inherent honesty - it can reproduce with great clarity even the most featureless of man-made materials'. Webb's subversive play on the 'inherent honesty' of the medium provides the tension between the real and the imagined in his deceptive and theatrical tableaux.
Webb’s mysterious and elaborate photographic compositions are created from constructed sets built by the artist in his studio. His early works concern the underlying relationship of man with nature, and provide an allegorical implication of man's disregard for humanity that may lead to nature's final revenge. Tethered Ray (1981) is one such work that reveals the inner imagination of Webb’s consciousness. The scene he creates reveals a ray seemingly gliding along the sea bed but on close inspection appears to be chained to the ground. A source of light shines onto the flat, boneless fish giving a theatrical atmosphere and leads the viewer to question how such a graceful and harmless creature could be held in such constraints no longer free to roam the deep ocean.
Webb has exhibited both in the UK and abroad with solo shows at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 1978 and 1987; Hirschhorn Museum, Washington DC, 1990 and the Auckland Art Gallery touring exhibition, 1997. Webb was also included in Toi Toi Toi Museum Fridericianum Kassel, and Auckland Art Gallery, 1999. He recently presented at Comma 24 at Bloomberg SPACE, London, 2010. He represented New Zealand in the Sydney Biennale in 1995.
Made in Britain Contemporary Art from the British Council Collection 1980-2010,China Federation of Literary and Art Circles Publishing Corporation 2010. ISBN 978-7-5059-7014-4.