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Cameron McLellan

A Near Order

July 11 - August 17, 2019


Empty Gallery is pleased to present 'A Near Order', a solo exhibition by Cameron McLellan.


This exhibition brings together three distinct bodies of work that elaborate on processes of accumulation and decomposition. In his meticulous series of drawings on canvas, the System Variations (ongoing), Cameron explores the possibilities of the conceptual grid and how the influence of arbitrary choice results in unpredictable, yet seemingly regular patterns. These highly composed pieces and their machine-like precision articulate a desire for perfection that is inevitably undermined by the artist's own hand.

In contrast, the Sealed Units (2018)made from commercial house paint sealed between two panes of glassembrace natural systems of decay and decomposition. As the paint begins to separate and congeal over time, subtle shapes begin to emerge and these ersatz monochromes gradually turn into Rothko-esque expressions of form.

Finally, in his untitled thread pieces, the artist has dipped canvas thread repeatedly into recycled house paint until a thick outer layer accumulates and gives physical weight to the otherwise gossamer strands.

‘A Near Order’ runs from July 11 to August 17, 2019. Visit the gallery during regular hours or by appointment.

Cameron McLellan's work concerns the built environment, architectural space and materiality through drawing, painting and site specific responses. Against the backdrop of Vancouver and its changeable facade, processes of accretion and destruction relate to various histories interwoven in the city, where materials act as an index of time and space. Recent exhibitions include the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, AHVA Gallery/UBC, and Interurban Gallery. McLellan holds an MFA from the University of British Columbia (2018) and lives and works on unceded Coast Salish territory in Vancouver, BC. 


If materials form a significant basis of our interactions with each other and our environment, they do so in a variety of ways, existing in different realms, with vastly different meanings.

The work in A Near Order is underscored by this notion, using materials such as canvas, commercial house paint, glass and graphite. All are approached with an economy of means, mostly extracted from other functions. Beautification, decay, repair, bordering, separation, accretion and material failure co-exist and commingle. 

The term "near order" is described by Jerry Pethick in his essay Animal Dreams in relation to a democracy of objects wherein a grouping becomes a collection, one which deemphasizes individual prioritization. A certain organization results but remains just short of being complete or total, comparable to shifting societal structures or swarming bees.

Beyond materiality, the work in this show represents varied intentions and understandings, and as such a single through-line becomes diffused. It is a collection of recent work that, hopefully, snaps into the focus of a near order, retaining enough instability to engage not only within the space of the gallery itself, but outside as well.

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