Nina Johnson (formerly Gallery Diet) is pleased to present Measure for Measure, the first painting exhibition of the artist, writer and educator, Seth Cameron.
It began one Thanksgiving with Cameron tracing his hand to draw a turkey. Left-handed, he traced his right hand. That the drawing could be made by two hands at once, that the image could be two things at once, that the emergent turkey remained a remnant of his own body, that this present absence of the ready-to-hand gesture both implicated the ostensible subject and was implicated by it (in that the turkey is death) – he found this to be a bit sinister and endlessly charming.
And so on he went. Tracing thumbs, proceeding by rule of thumb, thumbing toward existential metaphors: mouse holes, eye holes, caves, tombstones, ghosts, lovers atop hills looking out to endless vistas. The curve of the thumb disclosed the curve of the Earth. The Moon. A curtain drawn back over the edge of a stage. A scene and proscenium. A halo of light. A death out of view. A narrative to nowhere. A window. Thumbprints on the glass. A shadow underwater. “Groping for trouts in a peculiar river.” Drowning. Beach reading. Night driving. Belly over. Open door. Stand on one leg in the desert forever.
There are allusions to Modernism; nods to Newman, Reinhardt, Ryman. And earlier still to Italian surréalistes and French capriccios, German Romanticism and English Metre. The title is the title of one of Shakespeare’s problem plays, neatly neither a comedy nor a tragedy, but a discerning dissembling of the rightness of rules. In parallel Cameron’s ledges call to mind a musical staff, a score on the double, the paintings lightly leaning in a fugue-like arrangement, doubling back, bothering each other, making mischief in the library stacks.
Measure for Measure is the first public exhibition of a heretofore private practice. Born in 1982 in South Carolina, Cameron studied at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art where he now leads The Intradisciplinary Seminar. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York as a founding member of The Bruce High Quality Foundation and President of the collective’s free art school, BHQFU. He is a frequent lecturer on the international alternative arts education circuit, a sometimes professor of Creative Writing and Experimental Art History and a contributor –here and there– to The Brooklyn Rail. In spare moments he writes and records unpopular pop music. Two kids. Two cats. One house. One spouse.