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The archetypal snake is everywhere: from Adam and Eve to Embrace of the Serpent to fashion’s perennial rediscovery of snakeskin. In the planet-size galleries of Venus Over Los Angeles, Elaine Cameron-Weir stages an existential plane over which we encounter some of the snake’s parts: skeins of scales cascade upward, thin neon tubes ripple, and oil slithers up a burning wick.
In terms of sheer engulfinitude, Venus’s galleries nearly beat the snake at its own tail-swallowing game. Cameron-Weir, no size queen, opts for tactically smart staging and subtle, engaging strangeness—sometimes too subtle. Her works channel not only the mesmerising serpent, but the allure of the unfamiliar: the exotic, immaculate hardware in Threshold (2016) seems plucked out of the world’s poshest Home Depot.
The thin priapisms of the Threshold series (all 2016) repeat along the axis of a curved, whitewashed wall that veers between the gallery’s two rooms. Metaphor (2016), a leaky, stainless-steel basin, slunks downward along a loading ramp, ostensibly on its way out the (gigantic) gallery door. Elsewhere, fat strips of enamel scales hang from pulleys, as if the skins of the titular snake and its entire extended family were being prepped for market.
Slight asymmetry and repetition obscure the work’s differences, to the point that one wonders if there are any—the gallery’s vast space, and the great distances between each discrete work greatly aids this. Both Cameron-Weir and Venus give the snake a wide berth—a smart move, perhaps, but not necessarily a revealing one.
Elaine Cameron-Weir: Snake With Sexual Interest In Own Tail runs March 12-April 30, 2016 at Venus Over Los Angeles (601 S Anderson Street, Los Angeles, CA 90023)