For the past nine months, the artist Elaine Cameron-Weir has been making snake with sexual interest in own tail, her solo exhibition that opened this week at Venus Over Los Angeles, powerhouse dealer Adam Lindemann's new gallery in Downtown L.A. "We built an entire adobe wall inside the space," Cameron-Weir explained.
The 31-year old sculptor, with her naturally shy manner, is interested in establishing—and then bridging—boundaries. The arching adobe wall she built slices through the 14,000 square-foot space, and mounted upon it are a series of seemingly disconnected parts: three sets of wall sconces, a blue neon rod, a motorcycle mirror, an open flame under a small leaf of frankincense, and a found seashell (a recurring motif in Cameron-Weir's work). It's a puzzling assemblage, at first glance.
"Each shell comes with a mate," explained gallery director Anna Furney. "The artist broke the two halves apart to make each wall fixture. While they're on separate mounts, they are meant to stay together."
This balance seems essential to the exhibition: There are works made of copper scales that resemble snakeskin, attached to a metal mesh backing and suspended from the ceiling by a large sand bag that acts as a counterweight. And there is a pair of black terrazzo desks, which stand on opposing ends of the gallery. Each resembles one-half of a butterfly, with desktop accessories that mirror those on the wall—shells, neon lights, the open flame. “Every choice is purposeful,” said Furney.
Young and successful, Cameron-Weir, with her distinctive Brooke Shields eyebrows, would appear to be on the track to art stardom. Certainly, collectors and critics have been paying attention. "She's smart and stylish," said Lindemann, a major collector himself. "I knew I wanted to give her a platform in L.A."
But as adept as she is at building walls in her work, Cameron-Weir is just as skilled at throwing them up when it comes to her personal life—only these go up even faster. Born in Alberta, Canada, she has little interest in fame, and its many debts. "There is something synonymous about happiness and freedom to me," she said.
She also protested any biographical reading of her work. In fact, she thinks of them as "almost science fiction stories." "I prefer to work from a place I don't fully understand," Cameron-Weir explained. "I have a fascination with the unnatural world, things that go beyond reality. The natural world is a way to define that—it sets boundaries for the unnatural world." It's up to her to cross over.
Produced by Biel Parklee.