Eric Cameron

“All the things I value most in my art have happened for reasons I didn’t intend.” 

Eric Cameron is a painter, video artist, academic and teacher. His artistic practice and his 45 plus years as a teacher have left an indelible mark on the Canadian and International art scene.

Cameron was born in Leicester, England.  His father worked as an engineer and his mother, prior to marriage, was a dressmaker. He was an only child. He entered art school, he jokes, because he “failed Greek” and stayed with it once he realized how much he enjoyed it.  He studied painting at King’s College, University of Durham in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, and art history at the Courtauld Institute in London.

He began teaching at the University of Leeds in England in 1959.  Ten years later he moved to Canada to become the Chair of the Department of Fine Art at the University of Guelph.  From 1976-87 he lived on the east coast, teaching at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.  He then moved to Alberta where he was the Head of the University of Calgary Art department from 1987 – 1997. 

Throughout his teaching career he wrote critically for notable publications including Artforum, Vie des Arts, and Art Journal in addition to publishing various books and essays such as Bent Axis Approach, 1984 and English Roots, 2001.

Cameron began his Thick Paintings in Halifax during the spring of 1979, Brushstroke .  In these works he methodically applies thousands of coats of acrylic gesso to select everyday objects. The application of the gesso coats does not stop until the work is purchased by a museum or Cameron is physically unable to continue with the task. Over the course of two decades some his objects have received thousands of layers of gesso.  Cameron is also known for his Process Paintings, Reds and Yellows on Green (type 111q, 1/2" tape), in which he uses Scotch tape to compose grid patterns which are then painted. The paintings unpredictable optical rhythms are the result of slight variations in the way his hand laid down the tape.

In 1994 Cameron was awarded the Victor Lynch-Staunton Award and the Gershon Iskowitz Prize. In 2004 he was the recipient of the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts. He is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.