7 January – 11 February, 1998


Opening Reception Wednesday January 7, 6-8 pm

The Spencer Brownstone Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of a video and photographic installation by Cameron Jamie. A Los Angeles based artist, Jamie has participated in numerous group exhibitions nationally, and has had solo exhibitions in Los Angeles CA, and Bordeaux, France.
In the past Jamie's work has focused on sequential interpretation and an amusing/disturbing morphing of portraiture. For his one person show in Los Angeles, for example, Jamie commissioned a series of portraits which originated with a pastel sketch of a cartoon character or toy. With each rendering, the commissioned artist (who ranged from a caricaturist to a Stoner artist) accentuates or completely deletes certain physical features. In one series, a sketch of the artist posed with a Bart Simpson doll, is turned, through Jamie's process, into a portrait of a mother and son by the last rendition. Ralph Rugoff of the LA Weekly writes "…what comes through in this eclectic array is how genre and medium not only influence character, but define parallel realities as well. These serial portraits are the visual equivalent of the gypsy adage _When you relay a 'truth,' it isn't the facts that are important but how you tell the story to reveal it."
Cameron Jamie's fascination with apartment and pro wrestling inspire his latest series of videos and photographs. Apartment wrestling was a movement of pictorial soft core pornography that became popular in the 60's and early 70's depicting people wrestling in their homes. Although apartment wrestling was a well known adjunct to the S&M scene, it is comparatively innocent. Using average residences instead of sets and stages, viewers fetishized not only the wrestling poses and the depiction of play fighting, but the domestic interiors which became the arena. Viewers watched as intently for a piece of dirty laundry caught just inside a frame, as they did for an incidental show of flesh.
Like the genre he emulates, Jamie's matched are set in ordinary homes. The documentation of these matched are never done by professionals. Instead, Jamie collaborates with whomever happens to be around, lending a surprisingly refreshing amateur home video perspective. There are, however, peculiar innovations. For the series, Jamie traveled to Mesico City, drew a self-portrait and commissioned a mask maker for Mexican pro-wrestlers to fabricate a mask from it. The result is a theatrical, androgynous, abstraction of the artist's likeness that conceals/reveals his identity. Wearing long johns that emphasize his thin, gangly frame, Jamie transforms into a nameless, animated character, inverting the process that began with the previous portrait series. Participants are asked to improvise dialogue while the match goes on. This free association gives hints of a personality obfuscated by disguises and costumes. The resulting videos flip back and forth between documentary filmmaking and a ritualized, staged performance.