Sayre Gomez is one to watch. Recently taken on by the stalwart Brussels gallerist Xavier Hufkens in September 2020, the dealer sold ten of the artist's paintings at prices between $15,000 and $40,000 within only a few hours of the online FIAC art fair opening in March 2021.
True Crime—the artist's first solo exhibition at their Van Eyck location in Brussels (15 April–15 May 2021)—takes its name from the popular genre of film, literature, and television that appears real, but is in fact constructed, fictional, and scripted.
Gomez is known for his intricately detailed trompe-l'œil painting technique, utilised in past paintings such as Waxing / Facial / Mani-Pedi / Blow-out (2020). Here, the artist envelops the viewer with an ageing salon door: sun-bleached posters, peeling stickers, and wonky, closed blinds offer us no glimpse into what may lie behind the threshold, unavoidably speculating on the harsh economic and social pressures on businesses over the lockdown period.
The work is part of an ongoing series of hyperrealistic paintings, all executed at 1:1 scale, such as Garbage (2021)—a seemingly unremarkable brown wood cabinet, scarred with scratches and appliquéd neon clearance stickers.
To achieve these magnificently deceptive effects, Sayre Gomez uses commercial techniques such as airbrushing, set painting, and sign painting. One of the sculptures on display, Fat Man (2020), physically recreates a yellow parking totem designed to bring order and control into the public realm.
Other works, such as Sunrise over Sunset (2020), utilise the photographic trope of soft focus. Appearing purposefully hazy and blurred, the painting evokes the feeling of viewing the distorted landscape of the metropolis while in transit. A similarly stylised work, The Entrepreneur (2020), was acquired by the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles last year.
Gomez names his layered constructions 'X-Scapes', and writer Michael Slenske described their unique power as hovering between 'the formal organisation of Ed Ruscha's early cityscapes, the relentlessly rendered vistas of Pictures Generation star Jack Goldstein, and the emotional realism of Gerhard Richter's candle paintings.'
Gomez's subversive paintings have earned him an international reputation, showing in major group exhibitions including The Extreme Present at the Moore Building, Miami (curated by Larry Gagosian and Jeffrey Deitch); In Production: Art and the Studio System, Yuz Museum, Shanghai; and Alternate Realities: Selection of Works from the Collection, Arsenal Contemporary, Montreal (all 2019).—[O]
Main image: Sayre Gomez, Lincoln Plaza (detail) (2021). Acrylic on canvas. 213.4 x 152.4 cm. Courtesy the artist and Xavier Hufkens, Brussels. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer.