For the gallery’s Art Basel Statements booth, Simone Subal Gallery is pleased to host a solo presentation of recent works by Cameron Clayborn. Clayborn’s practice addresses the relationship vulnerability has to power. The work is materially rooted, and combines elements of Postminimalism, craft, performance, and spirituality.
Clayborn’s homegrown sculptures loosely resemble guardians or shields. Made from vernacular materials including paper, popcorn ceiling paint, and blue jean insulation, the pieces act as a potential source of protection for the body of a viewer. Although seemingly fragile, the poses of the homegrowns suggest an undeniable strength and stoic presence. By circling around these works one can piece together their anatomy: the blue jean insulation suggests a kind of flesh, and wiry protrusions are decorated with hair beads. Much like the grooves and folds in the human brain, the paper “skin” of each homegrown folds and ripples onto itself, creating more surface area for resilience.
Interspersed along the surrounding walls, Clayborn’s sculpture series roompiercer (with tools) imbues the installation with a level of malice in the guise of sharp, pointed, metal objects—something akin to a highly refined ice pick. These works literally gauge the environment while palm-sized aluminum casted tools, whose functions appear cryptic, dangle before the viewer. The body’s presence, or really its absence, is a central aspect of Clayborn’s practice, as is the ability to penetrate a space whether emotionally or physically. Meanwhile, Clayborn’s playful expansioncord #1 writhes across the floor, its wire and blue jean insulation structure evoking intestines or vines. Dotted with circular lumps, expansioncord #1 appears unruly, angsty, and almost cancerous, as it continues to grow on its own terms.
Coexisting within this peculiar ecosystem, the physicality of Clayborn’s homegrowns work together to protect the body of a viewer while the roompiercers ward a viewer off. In this way, Clayborn creates his own understanding of himself: an autonomous being constantly made aware of how he is interconnected to something larger than his personhood. It is this paradoxical sense of liberation and reconfiguration that Clayborn wishes to capture in this installation, a message whose relevance and complexity cannot be overstated.