MAY 31 - JULY 2, 2015


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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