Cover and Uncover: Eric Cameron

Cover and Uncover: Eric Cameron

Cover and Uncover: Eric Cameron

Cover and Uncover: Eric Cameron

Excerpt

In his 1995 novel, Blindness, José Saramago concluded with a provocative definition of blindness: the doctor’s wife says “I don’t think we did go blind, I think we are blind, Blind but seeing, Blind people who can see, but do not see.” The distinction between ability and will is what is important. Eric Cameron, trying to see, covers his objects to expose the experience visible in the spaces around the objects. To see, Cameron covers, like the Buddhist artificer in Michael Ondaatje’s novel Anil’s Ghost. His activity of painting, with all its unpredictability and surprises, mirrors and reveals his life.

Cameron’s oeuvre seeks to eliminate the distinction between art and life. His immense contribution not merely consists of the act of painting objects, but, more importantly, includes concomitant analysis, which has led him to embrace and reveal the mysteries of life. Well known in Canada, and now gaining increasing attention internationally, Cameron is one of Canada’s great artists. His early work, his perceptive writings, his videos, and his Thick Paintings – very tangible objects, or more accurately objects made into new objects – demonstrate his extraordinary creativity, persistence, and sensitive analysis.

This is a book about the work of Eric Cameron, painter, author, teacher, and videographer. Perforce it is also about the life of Eric Cameron and how that life informed his art. The emphasis is very much on the work, Cameron’s rich production over almost fifty years, but the relationship between the life and the work inevitably creeps in, drawing attention to the author’s background, ideas, ideals, location, and even feelings.

Eric Cameron was born in Leicester, England, in 1935. He turned to art, he declared in his self-deprecating way, after failing Greek at grammar school in Durham. From 1953 to 1957 he studied art at King’s College, Durham University, in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, under Lawrence Gowing, Victor Pasmore, and Richard Hamilton. Gowing in particular taught the “Euston Road” method, deliberate and painstaking, demanding impersonal figures and still lifes painted in tones and relationships. Upon graduation with his coveted first-class honours degree, Cameron went to the Courtauld Institute in London, studying Renaissance and . . .

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