Bird-like beings and organically proliferating forms – no matter what the semi-abstract figures in Cameron Jamie’s work resemble, they invariably convey a type of otherworldly presence. This sense comes across in all of the media the artist employs: ceramic and wooden sculptures, drawings, graphic prints, photographs, films, artist books and music productions. His drawings and monotypes– the focus of his show at CAPRI – form the foundation of his oeuvre, which has continued to develop its own, very specific artistic vernacular over the course of more than twenty-five years.
The oeuvre's basic tenor suggests identity as the basis for human existence. Time and again, Jamie has explored marginal realities and mysterious rituals, which refer to the hidden faces in our society. He thereby occupies a position where he immerses himself in subcultures that partially have shaped him. These worlds’ artistic transformation is, however, never carried out in a calculated way – Jamie’s form-finding process is spontaneous and psychologically inspired. The result is deeply personal and, at once, there is the sense that a magical, primitive atmosphere has been unleashed. It is about conditions of being and consciousness rather than concrete semantic contexts.
This approach comes across in a particularly direct manner in his drawings. There is something primary, even primal for Jamie in the act of drawing in free, immediate gestures, hearkening back to humanity’s earliest, pre-lingual markings: signs that indicate traces of carrying and expressing deeper meanings and messages. The source of the abstract, figural and floral subjects of interpenetrated forms remains undetermined: a phenomenon that lends Jamie’s work a beautifully unique and timeless energy.
Jamie’s automatic sketches often emerge from a layering process on paper with black inks, pastels, colored pencils, and watercolors. He is constantly experimenting with methods of the printmaking processes such as the monotype. Each of his unique monotype creations holds untold layers of colors and lines that render visible the shadow of procedural steps – a characteristic that Jamie’s process of creation reflects in general. The alchemical cycle of construction and deconstruction, erasure, overwriting, destruction and re-implementation is an essential feature inherent in his work.
Cameron Jamie was born in Los Angeles in 1969 and has lived in Paris since 2000. He has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Kunsthalle Zürich (2013), the Walker Art Center Minneapolis (2006), and currently at the Kölnischer Kunstverein. He has taken part in the group exhibitions “Infinite Mix” at the Hayward Gallery (2016), the Lyon Biennale (2015), the Berlin Biennale (2010 and 2008), the Venice Biennale (2005), and currently at “Voyage d’Iver” in Versailles. In 2016 he was awarded the Guerlain Art Foundation Prize for Drawing.
Text: Gesine Borcherdt, curator of CAPRI