Los Angeles

Cameron Shaw

Richard/Bennett Gallery

Since Walter Benjamin’s rehabilitation of allegory from the rhetorical realms of historicism, it has become popular among both artists and theorists as a strategy of resistance. By appropriating and reconstituting historical fragments as incomplete significations, the allegory equates history with the ruin, creating, in Benjamin’s words, “an irreversible process of dissolution and decay, a progressive distancing from origin.” Cameron Shaw’s enigmatic reliefs of weathered boxes, bottles, and found stereoscopic photographs seem on first viewing to be a perfect example of this poetry of loss and decay, producing disjunctive correspondences that evoke the deferred hope and ruptured “spleen” of Baudelaire.

Each piece consists of what appears to be a time-worn and weathered box, which resembles a cross between a soldier’s mess kit and a saddle bag—the sort of World War I artifact one finds hidden

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