Untitled Landscapes – Cam Matamoros

Above is a selection of photographs from an ever-growing archive. The set so far comprises approximately 50 prints of landscape drawings. The drawings are executed by using mass-produced facial waxing strips to remove the hair from my chin. The used strips are then photographed and enlarged to double their original size. Photography mediates the hair-on-wax drawings in order to emphasize the image over the material. This allows the viewer a freer play of association before they begin to recognize the content as the waste product of a beauty process.

The materials used to produce these drawings invite questions of socially mediated desire and of the construction of beauty as implicitly bound up in definitions of gender, race, and hygiene. However, this work is more emphatically about linking these concerns to a history of representing landscape.

Like the borders that contain a country or distinguish one person’s property from another’s, landscape painting has historically been symptomatic of the urge to contain the natural, the wild, the unruly, and the un-ruled. The containment of a landscape within an aesthetic image grants a perspective from which the viewer can feel mastery over a vast expanse of terrain. I am insisting that a body is always present when we represent the land. I am observing the ways in which the ideologies that shape the representations of landscapes are inseparable from the ideologies that shape the representations of bodies. I wonder how what we are presented with shapes not only what we see and how we see, but I also consider how this applies to how we see pictures, ourselves, and others.

This work is broadly about negotiating borders and surfaces. It is about the possibility of recognition and about haunting and vision. It is also about how images condition us to be subjects and how our subjective imaginations construct the images we see. And finally, it is about the slippages between how we are interpellated and how we articulate some agency regardless of how we are called by larger bodies and by institutionalized languages.

 

Matamoros - Untitled Landscapes

Matamoros - Untitled Landscapes

Matamoros - Untitled Landscapes

Matamoros - Untitled Landscapes

Matamoros - Untitled Landscapes

Matamoros - Untitled Landscapes

Matamoros - Untitled Landscapes

 

Cam Matamoros is a Hamilton-born, Montreal-based artist. Her work has been exhibited in festivals and galleries across Canada; in Brooklyn, Rochester and Minneapolis, USA; and in Turku and Helsinki, Finland. She holds an Interdisciplinary BFA from Concordia University and has been the recipient of multiple scholarships and awards.

Cam’s interests are varied. In her more materially-based work, she produces a sort of unconscious language of images related to the embodied experiences of knowing, or of remembering. In her video and performance projects, she is always striving to become someone else, someone better. Sometimes this is a better version of herself, other times she tries to become some specific famous artist. This entails performances of mimicry and of earnest effort in the face of certain failure. She embraces the generative moment of failure as the place where something unpredictable, special, and somehow ‘true’ emerges.