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Sayre Gomez at Sifang Art Museum

November 4, 2022–April 9, 2023

Sayre Gomez, an American artist born in 1982 in Chicago, USA, will have a show of recent paintings, sculptures, and videos at the Sifang Art Museum. This thorough presentation demonstrates the range of his creative approach while delving into the fundamental topics of his body of work and introducing a number of fresh directions. Enterprise examines the modern metropolis as a tangled network of competing realities, ranging from grand technicolor vistas and spectacular natural events to deteriorated advertising signs and street furniture.

Los Angeles, a city that is equally gorgeous and cruel, serves as the setting. A legendary city with lavish vistas and alluring sunsets, home to Hollywood, famous people, fast automobiles, and enormous money. On the other hand, endless sprawl is a dispersed landscape where strip malls, signs, and infrastructure are the only genuine landmarks. This dichotomy—a city rife with neglect and social injustice—lies at the exhibition’s core. The title-piece, which takes its name from the painting Enterprise 2 (2022), imitates the emblem of Enterprise Rent-A-Vehicle, one of America’s largest national car rental corporations, with its hardly legible letters. The company name celebrates its commitment to one of the cornerstones of American style capitalism and the entrepreneurial spirit, while also acknowledging the key role of the vehicle as an extension of Western individuality and identity, which contrasts with the somber tone of the artwork.

Within the show, cars take on a central role. In large cities with limited public transportation, status symbols, displays of identity, and modes of transportation can also serve as temporary homeless shelters and lifelines. Different facets of this concept are communicated in the films Roadrun(ing) (2021), Altima (2022), and Inferno (2022), which depict an urban network of multiple-layered concrete highways, pollution, traffic, circulatory fluxes, and a perspective of the world that is permanently mediated by the automobile. When watched from specially designed MOMO racing seat sculptures created for the exhibition by Gomez’s longtime friend and artist, JPW3, the video work Studio Visit explores this in greater detail.

It’s vital to keep in mind that these are created realities when looking at Sayre Gomez’s large-scale works, such as Milk, Bread, Soda, Cigarettes (2022), Altima (2022), and Sunrise over Sunset (2020). The paintings are constructed from images that were taken in various locations and then pieced together to form new compositions. Thus, the resulting visuals are a mixture of “actual” and “imaginary,” simultaneously. Gomez uses a variety of techniques, including traditional fine art approaches, commercial sign making, industrial film and set-building, and digital technology, to transform these photographic montages into sleek, hyperrealistic paintings with flawless surfaces. The difficulty to tell the difference between real and virtual locations echoes the confusing nature of modern urban life, and the hybrid technical approach captures its dynamic, decentralized, and endlessly adjustable atmosphere.

A brand-new collection of paintings with trompe l’oeil stickers on reflecting black backgrounds is also on display. The sculptures, which were created using acrylic paint over automotive enamel, have gleaming, mirror-like surfaces that are reflective and impenetrable, like tinted windows. In addition to the stickers themselves, which immortalize the emblems of private security organizations, a recent collection of sculptures also emphasize this image of safety and protection. On the casings for electric gate mechanisms, the latter are based.These frequently disregarded boxes operate the partitions that represent the boundaries between public and private area. The paintings with the title 8,760,000 (numbers 1-4, 2022) add to the security theme by introducing the helicopter as a fresh subject in Gomez’s body of work. These allude to the Los Angeles Police Department’s aerial law enforcement program, the largest overhead surveillance division in the world today after starting in 1956 with a single helicopter. The titles represent an approximation of the annual cost for each helicopter, with at least two helicopters flying for at least twenty hours each day.

Sifang Art Museum
No. 9 Zhenqi Road, Pukou District
210031 Nanjing
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–5pm

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