With an aesthetic sensibility suggestive of science fiction, the militaristic, or the occult, New York-based contemporary artist Elaine Cameron-Weir reimagines futuristic systems for collective survival through sculpture, painting, and installation.Read More
Born in Alberta, Canada, Elaine Cameron-Weir gained a BFA in Drawing from Alberta College of Art and Design in 2007. She graduated with an MFA in Studio Art from New York University Steinhardt School in 2010.
From early on in her practice, Elaine Cameron-Weir worked with industrial materials presented in cryptic figurations. Blue Black (2011) presents an unremarkable wooden beam covered in paint and coconut oil, set upright in a concrete platform as though it were a totem for an unknown society.
The 'Plate' series (2012—2013) consists of a numbered sequence of rectangular cast aluminium slabs, displayed on the wall. Each with irregular surface inflections and tonalities, the plates recall the material investigations of Eva Hesse or Richard Serra.
Other works such as the large-scale brass houseplant Palm (2012), or Timekeeping Extra-Terrestrial Civilizations? (2013), a series of tall brass antennae set in a rough-hewn block of limestone, reflect an interest in subverting and de-familiarising everyday objects. Combining seductive materials, arbitrary signifiers, and an enigmatic use of language, Cameron-Weir imagines occult applications and considers the object in relation to human existence and the desire to make meaning.
Cameron-Weir's later practice unfolds multifaceted installations, often comprising multiple sculptural amalgamations in manipulated environments that allow for dialogues between material, process, and function.
Her material repertoire includes electrical and mechanical elements and alchemic substances, as well as the familiar industrial metals and casting materials of her early practice. Venus anadyomene (2014) features neon-fringed clamshells containing lit candles as well as materials including olive oil and incense, which suggest ritualistic functions. Houseplants endure in the form of shiny brass monstera deliciosa, coupled with brass antennae to suggest an alien purpose beyond decoration. For Artforum, Jo-ey Tang writes: '... Cameron-Weir exposes an anxiety triggered by looking and preys on our willingness to succumb to psychic invasions.'
Cameron-Weir's later practice also sees the increased integration and repurposing of readymade objects, particularly those used in military, science, or medicine. Her 2016 exhibition Erotix at Andrea Rosen Gallery included an installation of a futuristic office-laboratory, with a manipulated chair, desk, and standing lamp. Chemistry lab equipment with frankincense hints at the experimental alchemy taking place, while the hanging steel and copper Snake Piece 6 (2016) elicits contemplation of ritual objects.
On the exhibition Venus (2016), Andrew Berardini writes for Artforum: 'The artist as alchemist is an old trope—both transform base materials into something new—but this artist has left more than a metaphor. The collection of strange sculptures Frankensteins the tempting contrasts of the natural and unnatural into a scenario for an elusive story, its mysteries never really revealed.'
In her 2021 exhibition STAR CLUB REDEMPTION BOOTH, Cameron-Weir interrogated the existential drives for religion or speculative fiction—collective survival, vulnerability, states of being, knowledge and belief structures, and systems which underpin human value. Featuring repurposed utilitarian objects—such as conveyor belts, aircraft cables, and U.S. military body transfer cases—Cameron-Weir orchestrates an unsettling, fantastical tableau that chronicles her thinking around our collective existence.
Elaine Cameron-Weir has exhibited widely since 2010.
Select solo exhibitions include STAR CLUB REDEMPTION BOOTH, Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle (2021); strings that show the wind, JTT, New York (2021); CONDO London, hosting JTT, NY, Sadie Coles HQ, London (2021); His Master's Voice, JTT at Sadie Coles for CONDO, London (2018); Outlooks, Storm King Art Center, New York (2018); ELAINE CAMERON-WEIR exhibit from a dripping personal collection, Dortmund Kunstverein, Germany (2018); wave form walks the earth, Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles (2017); viscera has questions about itself, New Museum, New York (2017).
Select group exhibitions include Crumple, Vin Vin, Vienna (2020); Hooks and Claws, Galerie Gregor Staiger, Zurich (2020); A Detached Hand, Magenta Plains, New York (2019); The Magnetic Fields, Gió Marconi, Milan (2019); Hardcore Erotic Art, Ramiken Crucible, New York (2018); Terres de Femmes, Praz-Delavallade, Paris (2018); Ill, Remai Modern, Saskatoon (2018); Arts Alumni, The Commons Gallery, New York University (2018); In The Reading Room of Hell, A Plus A Gallery, Venice (2018).
Cameron-Weir's artwork is held in collections including the Philadelphia Museum; The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and Remai Modern, Saskatoon.
Misong Kim | Ocula | 2021