The Cabinet & The Vitrine
With The Cabinet & The Vitrine, the title of his second solo exhibition with the gallery, Los Angeles based artist Sayre Gomez refers to the nick-names of the two Nagel Draxler gallery spaces.
“Because of its long narrow shape which is flanked by large store front windows the larger space at Weydingerstraße 2/4 is often referred to as the “vitrine” by the artists and employees of the gallery, while the cabinet is a smaller and more intimate space at Rosa-Luxemburg-Straße 33. It became apparent to me that these two closely related yet distinct ways of presenting, and showcasing visual information, was a perfect analogy for organizing these two new bodies of work. A vitrine to showcase objects in which a viewer peers inside through glass, whereas in the case of the cabinet – its own surface is on display, while everything else is hidden.”
The “vitrine” showcases a new body of paintings which are centered around the idea of accumulated objects resting on a window sill. Looking outwards from a hypothetical interior, the only visual cues about the imagined space are the painted objects and the window frame itself, while the rest of the information is a rendered soft-focus landscape which this window overlooks. The often uncanny relationship between foreground and background in these works is hyper-accentuated and creates a sense of inconsistency and unease. Rendered in a meticulous photorealism, the works seem at once to be true to life yet obviously constructed, and all endeavor to tell a story about their tenant, who is missing; as if we have wandered into a house in which all the occupants are gone. Taking cues from art-historical epochs such as 17th century Dutch still-life painting, as well as pop art, surrealism and conceptual art, the works presented in the “vitrine” all make use of their rendered vocabulary, a landscape anchored by diffuse objects in an effort to paint a portrait of a person who isn’t there.
Through a process of building up layers of paint, the works presented in the “cabinet” also paint a portrait of a missing subject. Each work references a commonly found surface, wood grain, powder-coated steel, aluminum, formica, etc., and all are adorned with painted representations of children’s stickers. Bugs Bunny or the Tasmanian Devil in tandem with stars and ponies and other recognizable cartoon figures, paint a nostalgic portrait of a shared childhood ritual, one which signifies a time in which children are in a process of examining everything, especially their own identity. Here we see these stickers not only as shiny portraits of our favorite icons but also as avatars, externalized and aspirational symbols of identity.
Sayre Gomez born 1982 in Chicago, Il, Lives and works in Los Angeles, Ca. He holds a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2005) and an MFA from California Institute of the Arts (2008). Recent solo exhibitions include Ghebaly Gallery, Los Angeles, California, USA; Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels, Belgium; Michael Jon and Alan, Miami, USA; Galerie Nagel Draxler, Cologne, Germany; and Galerie Parisa Kind, Frankfurt, Germany. He has recently exhibited at Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, USA; Soccer Club Club, Chicago, USA; Marlborough, Madrid, Spain; IBID, London, UK; and C L E A R I N G, New York, USA. His work is included in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Marciano Art Foundation, and the Rubell Family Collection.