Since her earliest works, Cameron-Weir has drawn inspiration from the figure of the aesthete in late nineteenth-century Europe as a paragon of refined sensitivity to beauty, heightened sensory engagement, transgressive sexual desire, and the pursuit of pleasure through artifice or illusion. Intrigued by how many artists of that period pursued correspondences between senses, Cameron-Weir often introduces particular scents to her installations in the form of naturally aromatic resins like frankincense, myrrh, or labdanum—all of which have been used in a range of spiritual, medicinal, and funerary practices that trace back to the earliest civilizations. Cameron-Weir’s most recent works also reflect her fascination with emerging methodologies within archaeology that question the discipline’s privileging of vision and aim to enrich speculations about the past through a multisensory approach.
For “viscera has questions about itself,” Cameron-Weir presents a series of new works that incorporate typical laboratory implements like metal barrels, rods, clamps, and fabric heating mantles, which collectively establish a mood of observation and inquiry. The voids emphasized by the installation’s other works, which include a suspended “jacket” and “skin,” in turn suggest phenomena or forces that seem to escape scientific explanation. While Cameron-Weir’s new sculptures are informed by her study of historical objects made to protect, punish, or stand in for bodies—medieval armor or torture devices, and early-Renaissance orthopedics—they also reflect her interests in aspects of evolutionary design, such as corporal symmetry and the possibility of biological systems that harbor intelligence and self-awareness. In this sense, the exhibition’s enigmatic title alludes to potential forms of knowledge or intelligence that are intrinsic to the body but independent of the mind.
“Elaine Cameron-Weir: viscera has questions about itself” is curated by Natalie Bell, Assistant Curator.
Elaine Cameron-Weir was born in 1985 in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, and lives and works in New York. She has had solo exhibitions at Andrea Rosen Gallery 2, New York (2016); VENUS, Los Angeles (2016); Ramiken Crucible, New York (2014); and Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels (2014). Cameron-Weir has also been included in group exhibitions at La Biennale de Montréal (2016–17); FUTURA, Prague (2016); GAMeC, Bergamo, Italy (2014–15); and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2014). Cameron-Weir earned a BFA from the Alberta College of Art and Design and an MFA from New York University.