Joe Sheftel Gallery is pleased to present Black Leather Sectional, Sam McKinniss’s first solo exhibition with the gallery and New York solo debut. An opening reception will be held on Sunday, May 31, from 6-8pm. The exhibition will be on view through July 2, 2015.
Black Leather Sectional is comprised of one large sectional sofa and ten new paintings inspired by themes of murder, revenge, teenage passion, lust and cartoon ghosts.
McKinniss uses a non-linear approach to fashion new romantic narratives. He is constantly photographing people and scenes from his daily life to generate material for portraits or figurative paintings. McKinniss augments this active photographic practice with obsessive Internet searching, erratic quests for overlooked or outdated icons — cultural items that will attract and maintain his manic gaze. While painting, McKinniss mimics a wide array of classical, imagist, abstract and expressionist techniques. Any stylistic precedent deemed relevant to a given narrative is cherry-picked from art history and freely subsumed to his oeuvre.
For Black Leather Sectional, McKinniss creates a context wherein a devious Cupid, Donatello’s David, Alicia Silverstone’s Batgirl, downtown It-Girl Hari Nef, as well as the infamous Chardon, Ohio High School shooter T.J. Lane all vie simultaneously for attention. As he translates each image from this provocative range of references into paintings, style and mannerism bind willful incongruity into an unexpected whole. Meta-narratives of connectivity creep in between pictures to form a promiscuous network of relatedness and desire.
Black Leather Sectional also includes one non-figural work from McKinniss’s ongoing series of paintings featuring a familiar cartoon ghost motif. In Ghosts (orange and green), phantoms appear to move wildly across an aggressive field of colorful abstract-expressionist brushwork. These ghosts attend Black Leather Sectional to revel in spurious affectation, playing tricks on sex, death, joy and unrest.
Sam McKinniss (b. 1985) has a BFA from Hartford Art School and a MFA from NYU Steinhardt, which he received in 2013. His work has been featured in several group shows in New York and elsewhere.
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