Cameron Welch – Hide and Seek
May 18 – June 30, 2017
Opening reception: May 18, 6 – 8 PM
Nurse: Doctor, The Invisible Man is in your waiting room.
Doctor: Tell him I can’t see him now.
yours mine & ours is pleased to present Hide and Seek, the first New York solo show by Cameron Welch and the artist’s first show with the gallery.
Presenting three, new large-scale works, Welch more than excavates his own identity, he exploits it, thrusting his various selves onto the canvas for the viewer to piece together. If Warhol was meant to erase the meaning of the image through repeating it Welch is asking us to deal with it.
He does not want to remove unflattering portrayals or stereotypes, instead he explores them, with each painting becoming the personification of the Sambo, the savior, the savage, the hero, the minstrel, white trash, single-mother household, the food stamp using bastard. The need to blend out loud makes the work feel particularly relevant and significant.
I See You (Beware of Dog) shows a vintage Little Tikes advertisement repeated, featuring two toddlers at an easel. In it, a black girl, cherubic and innocent, curiously peeks at her white counterpart. The white boy, simultaneously cherubic, is staring at his painting. One image of the white boy is also placed at the mouth of Cerberus, the guardian of Hades and seems to become his victim; another is gone altogether. Blackness is present and repeated; whiteness begins to fade and has the potential to be disappeared. And there’s even more to deal with regarding gender and class. Orpheus and Pegasus pop up too. These details cannot be unseen.
The paintings are attached to sculptural, almost theatrical backgrounds, highlighting a mélange of 20th Century nostalgia that raises even more questions: pressed flowers, broken compact discs, a white picket fence.
Arte Povera, if not a direct influence, is certainly a subconscious forbear. Through the use of found objects and images, and the influences of Surrealism and Dada, Welch creates a reflection of society, not unlike the literal ones created by the mirror paintings of Michelangelo Pistolleto. We’re all exceptional and not at all, and it’s messy and beautiful.
Each work takes unapologetically from earlier traditions of collage and quilting. The result is a multi-layered, messy aesthetic existing firmly in the world of formalism. Oil stick, crayon, spray paint and more are worked quickly on the surface but deeply thought out on the page. The work borders between diatribe and sermon: angry AND hopeful.
Welch intentionally looks for the juxtapositions in the images while marrying their experiences on the canvas. However, there is no inherent goal. We’re in this together, for the long haul.
Cameron Welch received his MFA from Columbia University in 2016 and his BFA in 2013 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has been in numerous group shows around the country including Circuit 12 Contemporary in Dallas, TX and most recently Microcosm at Roberts & Tilton in Spring, 2017. Welch has received various awards and prizes, including the SAIC Distinguished Scholarship of Merit and Columbia University Visual Arts Scholarship.