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Layer Painting exhibition photostext by Cliff EylandEric Cameronoverview and press release
overview and press release

NEWTON'S PRISM: LAYER PAINTING: 6-28 February 2003
Public opening and reception: Thursday 6 February at 3 PM.
Talk by Doug Lewis Wednesday 12 February at NOON.
Talk by Eric Cameron Thursday 13 February at NOON.
Talk by Cliff Eyland Wednesday 26 February at 7 PM.

Curated by Cliff Eyland.

DOUG LEWIS
Lewis Work


ABOVE: Doug Lewis 'Licks' works. Photograph courtesy Doug Lewis.

Two artists in this exhibition -- Doug Lewis and Craig Love -- use reductive methods to systematically "de-layer" their works.

Click here to go to Doug Lewis's official web site

Doug Lewis addresses his saltblock works in a September 2002 artist's statement:

LICKS is an installation work that started in May of 1997. At the time of its first exhibition at Plug In Inc.(1998), the installation was entitled Saltbath. Saltbath was included as part of Plug In Inc.’s Diaspora Series.

The work is comprised of four individual colors of saltlicks (over 80 or one ton in total weight). There are four specific colors of saltlicks: cobalt blue, iron oxide red, zinc white and multi-mineral brown (or orange). Each color has a different as well as important mineral composition, so in theory, the aesthetics of the saltlick are detrimental to the health of the animals…. The type and quantity of minerals added to each block determine each saltlick color.

Becoming quite intrigued with the relationship I saw developing between nutrition requirements and art making, I began to see a fascinating entropic experiment developing - somewhere between earthworks and a revealing of necessity at the core of existences. Saltlicks can be seen as large multi-vitamins that sustain animals, which in turn of course, sustain humanity.

My participation in the development of LICKS came in two distinct methodologies. The first involved myself as a rather unusual collaborator by intervening various animal lickings and weather elements over a period of 12 months. I ‘collaborated’ by rotating the saltblocks every 3 to 5 days or whenever they appeared to be as a finished work. I approached this aspect of the idea much in the same spirit of Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty in that I allowed outside influences to control the destiny of the artwork (which is still ongoing as the salt is always changing). The animal’s health requirements for salt and autonomic mineral intake coupled with constant weather changes relegated my input to the role of a type of choreographer. We worked together in a very real sense, sculpting the salt into 45 individual sculptures, making up over half of the installation.

Lewis Work


ABOVE: Doug Lewis and salt block-licking horse. Photograph courtesy Doug Lewis

The second aspect of LICKS involved myself as the only instrument which would effect the aesthetic result of each saltlick. The installation is not a comparison of myself to nature in as much as it is an entropic experiment. Early into the second phase, it became important for me to determine methods that could somehow allow transfiguring each saltlick, yet without coming into physical contact with it. My thinking being that I was more interested in the ‘chance-operations’ of nature than of a traditional sculptural practice. Further, I was interested in developing a sense as to what salt was as a sculptural substance and how I could use it to reflect an art historical kinship of sorts. Many of the saltlicks are made with certain artists in mind, i.e. Archipenko, William Burroughs (Shotgun paintings) and Helen Chadwick (Piss Flowers) to name a few.

I decided to choose a wide variation of means in which to ‘sculpt’ or alter the saltblocks, but I was also very keen on the idea of making an installation that reflected some sort of kinship to art history through my medium choices or decisions. Some of the methods included hydrochloric acid, rifles, urine, a pressure washer and a caffeine bath. The installation has taken on a strong metaphorical side for me: time, palimpsest and my interests in both transactions and consumption.


The CD-ROM publication Newton's Prism: Layer Painting includes material about other Gallery One One One shows: $20.00 plus shipping = $25.00 payable to Gallery One One One, School of Art, Main Floor, FitzGerald Building, University of Manitoba Fort Garry campus, Winnipeg, MB, CANADA R3T 2N2 TEL:204 474-9322 FAX:474-7605

For information please contact Robert Epp eppr@ms.umanitoba.ca