Eric Cameron Light 1979-1992 2625 half-coats of acrylic gesso and acrylic on desk lamp 42 x 207 x 40 cm Gift of the artist, Calgary, 1992 National Gallery of Canada (no. 36874)
Eric Cameron, Light, 1979-1992. 2625 half-coats of acrylic gesso and acrylic on desk lamp, 42 x 207 x 40 cm. Gift of the artist, Calgary, 1992. National Gallery of Canada (no. 36874). © NGC / CMCP.
Eric Cameron's "Thick Paintings" are made by repeatedly painting acrylic gesso onto carefully selected objects. Creating a "Thick Painting" of light was an appealing idea which proved difficult to realize. The yellow desk lamp he chose to cover could not, after a while, support the weight of the gesso applied to it. In an unusual move, Cameron decided to free the lamp itself from its gesso shell, but continued to paint on the cord, which eventually assumed enormous proportions in relation to its original length.

“What I believe I experienced in the progress of my Thick Paintings is an intimation of the ‘itness’ of the existence of the world, and that intimation is mystical, albeit of a material nature: a material mysticism.”

Eric Cameron is an artist living and working in Calgary, Alberta. Born in 1935 in Leicester, England, Cameron received his B.A. in painting from King’s College, Durham University in Newcastle and his Diploma in Art History from the Courtauld Institute at the University of London. He moved to Canada in 1969 and is currently a Professor of Art at the University of Calgary.

Cameron is known for his “Thick Paintings” as well as his “Process Paintings”, the former of which consist of objects that have been painted with thousands of layers of gesso, changing everyday objects into art objects that Cameron says reveal the “mode of being in the world.” His Process paintings are minimalist works that are produced through the layering of vertical and horizontal grids of tape. While the Thick Paintings take on a form of their own, regardless of the control of the artist, the Process Paintings are created entirely through the manipulation of the artist. Cameron is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards including the 2004 Governor General’s Award and the 1994 Gershon Iskowitz Prize. He has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally and his work can be found in major private and public collections across Canada.