Utilising a range of painting tools that include airbrush and stencils, artist Sayre Gomez creates trompe l'oeil paintings inspired by the city of Los Angeles. Gomez's photorealistic yet imaginary works call into question the increasingly ambiguous boundaries of the real and fictional in an age of digital technology and accelerated image production. Signs of the urban city, such as windows and storefronts, recur throughout his paintings.Read More
Gomez's early 'Thief' paintings typically depict a plane of colours marked with splattered and blurred washes of paint, accompanied by a pair of gloved hands that lift it to reveal an empty space below—hence the title. The artist began the series shortly after graduating with an MFA from California Institute of the Arts in 2008, where he studied under the late conceptual artist Michael Asher.
Sayre Gomez became interested in the imagery present in his 'Thief' paintings, and the idea of trespassing and windows, after a friend posted an image of hands on his Facebook page.
Sayre Gomez's subjects have since expanded to include storefronts and street advertising replicating the scenery commonly seen in Los Angeles. Hop Louie Doors (2018), for example, depicts the doors to Los Angeles' first Chinese restaurant, which opened in 1941 and closed in 2017.
Another later Sayre Gomez artwork, 7th & Los Angeles (2019), depicts a bed with the word 'Comforters' behind a storefront window. Gomez's paintings of the urbanscape were presented alongside sculptures and a video in his solo exhibition X-Scapes at François Ghebaly, Los Angeles, in 2019.
As part of X-Scapes, Gomez installed eight yellow parking lot stanchions made from cardboard, PVC, and polyurethane foam, evoking the parking lot or road in Los Angeles. With titles such as Senior Regional Manager and CEO (both 2019), the posts evoked vigilance and regulated the movement of visitors, as art critic Christopher Knight observed in a review for Los Angeles Times.
In 2021, Gomez held True Crime, his first solo exhibition with Brussels' Xavier Hufkens. The new urbanscape paintings and sculptural works revolved around true crime, a nonfiction genre that traces actual crimes rather than relying on fiction.
Good Pictures, Jeffrey Deitch, New York (2020); The Secret History of Everything, Perrotin New York (2020); In Production: Art and the Studio System, Yuz Museum, Shanghai (2019); Reflections, Gana Art Center, Seoul (2019); Unobstructed Views, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (2017).
Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2021