Preview: Saturday 5 November (1-4pm)
Exhibition: 6 November – 7 January 2023
Reincarnation is a key theme in the work of mother/son artistic duo, Spiller + Cameron, who have been working together for the past five years, creating an instantly recognizable oeuvre of stark, almost-brutalist, but also greatly expressive works that adhere to their own strict set of codes.
Firstly, the concept of reincarnation arises metaphorically, in that each of their paintings is created as a different, sentinel-type watchman. Each is titled after a Greek god, Biblical or historic figure, or even personified spiritualist ideology: Abbadon is the ‘place of destruction’ in the Old Testament; Gabriel the archangel who descends to earth with various warnings; Poseidon the Greek god of the sea. Their debut exhibition with BEERS London, aptly titled Titans & Muses, scours the mythological and spiritualist annals to resurrect these figures as paintings.
But to call these arduously worked pieces ‘paintings’ grossly misses the mark – and their intent. Xavier Spiller-Cameron and Moira Cameron have created a sort of codex for themselves, in which their works are elaborate assemblages that adhere to a strict set of rules. These works are comprised of as many as thirty separate, distinct panels, each judiciously chosen from any number of contingent works which are de– and re-constructed herein as the compositional ‘building blocks’ for the finished piece. In that regard, these so-called lesser works are given a new life, a sort of life beyond their original intent.
The duo allow themselves a slim margin of error. Works that aren’t perfectly structured or sewn, are disassembled and realigned in order to reach the perfect composition. At the top of each are situated a set of ‘eyes’ that gaze back at the viewer, and at some midway-down-point, a horizontal stripe, often with notches/teeth, in a feat of now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t pareidolia.
As viewers, what we want to see remains up to each of us: whether we want to see an abstract painting; an orderly and structured combination of reincarnated artworks; or even a deeply spiritualist sentinel gazing over us with portentous energy… or some combination thereof. Perhaps in this ambiguity is the precise strength that lays behind these works.