Spiller + Cameron are a mother/son duo who have been making art together for the past four years. At a surface level, their formal and rigidly abstract paintings prioritize a sort-of chaotic approach to structure, however, at further investigation, their multidisciplinary process reveals a conscientious use of materials and an almost religious reverence for these sentinel-type paintings, which they refer to as Heads.
And it is with mathematic precision that the duo create these monoliths, with repetition and devotion – like a sort of current-day Moai, (more colloquially known as the ‘Easter Island Heads’.) With this in mind, one begins to understand how repeating patterns stand-in for humanoid features: two ovals, always situated near the top, become two eyes; a vertical line diving the midsection, a nose; a scrambled series of marks along the bottom are teeth, a garbled mouth, a chin.
However, this ‘portrait’ seems deeply encoded. As if mother and son are so familiar working together they have developed their own language – a codex of semaphores and semiological process, reified by their labour-intensive process of creating large textiles/paintings/tapestries/designs, as well as sourcing any host of found objects, and then painstakingly planning each piece, before sewing the works in adherence with their own strict set of rules. And it is precisely this sort of ‘insider knowledge’ that makes these works – at once compelling, colourful, and mysterious – all the more interesting. Theirs is a process that harkens to both Primitivism and Pop Art, sure, but perhaps mostly to the Minimalists, such as Robert Morris whose precise order of operations seems to imbue the works with an almost spiritualist, shamanistic sensibility. Or Even Rothko, who – through process, application, and dead-set intent – created devotees worldwide.
Indeed, through these self-imposed restrictions, Spiller + Cameron’s works do seem to keep watch on the present, if only for the knowledge of future generations.