Amy Cameron (She/ her)
I’m an artist currently working and living in Glasgow. My work currently explores society’s complicated relationship with death.
My current art practice explores the medium of painting to reflect contemporary representations of death, magnified through morgue photography, classical painting and medical archives. I have focused my exploration of death through the morgue, as a literal yet metaphorical expression of society’s taboo attitudes to death, bringing the private inevitability of this stage of life to the fore. I use paint to draw up complex viewing experiences, taking advantage of oil paint’s physical substance-like quality to suggest areas of bodily pallor, while using it to play on psychologically driven narratives. I do this by distancing the body and face from conventionally driven stylisation, balancing between axes of conventional representation and abstraction, through the immediacy of linear gesture. I want the viewer to question to what extent death is present in these images, by limiting the subject to ambiguously read states of sleep, relaxation, or landscape like distortion. I do this by both offering and eliminating expected clues like colour and conventional styles that hint at the human form.
Current work consolidates these questions. Driven by these complex readings, I challenge expected portrayals of death, through the gaze of a viewer given a new and exclusive glimpse to it, broadly mirroring our limited awareness of the reality of death. With this in mind, I inquire society’s discomfort of the end of life, by exploring the secretive rites of the morgue and funeral preparation, where I examine the significance of embalming, grooming and hiding evidence of death. Line and painting techniques discretely reveal these inquiries, and exercise tender readings that expose clinical practices, while retaining a dignified and respectful approach to the figure and procedures. Beyond figurative painting, my works look at the equipment, spaces and objects used to carry out death practices, while retaining the idea of challenging expected ways of portraying an image.
Getting Ready Series
This selection of work examines the rites in which we prepare the dead and asks why as a society, we feel the need to safe guard ourselves from this ordinary stage of life.
As my research delved beyond documenting different states of dead figures, I became increasingly interested in the ambiguous states between sleep, death and relaxation. This lingering axes emerged in my later series of works as a means of addressing our limited exposure, awareness and understanding of what death looks like, while confronting the often polished examples of death we’re used to seeing. Medical archives and videos fuelled my research into this inquiry.
From the warm colours and cosy scale to its simultaneously desolate and stagnant environment, The Resting Room invites the viewer to question the images’ context. With what little information is given, the interior points towards a comfortable visit to the hairdressers, yet the subtly drab palette and display of equipment also offers a glimpse into a more clinical way of viewing the work. The interplay between mundanity and deeper thematic contexts are a great concern in my practice. It encourages the viewer to consider that not all things presented end at face value.