Exhibitionin Venice, CA / United States
Team (gallery, inc.) is pleased to announce a solo show of work by American painter Sam McKinniss.
For his debut Los Angeles exhibition, Sam McKinniss presents a collection of new paintings, representing the two visually disparate but complimentary practices in which he works concurrently. The representational works portray human figures, lithe bodies at once sexually suggestive and distinctly funereal. Similarly fraught with closely tied eroticism and morbidity, the second body of work consists of virulent, predominately grey-scale abstractions, overlaid with familiar cartoon renderings of ghosts. The incongruity of the two styles provides tension and counterpoint within the oeuvre: considered together, they engage in an encompassing exploration of the sex-death instinct from the discrete positions of the bodily and disembodied. References to the history of painting – from Baroque and Mannerist painting to Imagism and Abstract Expressionism – are present throughout McKinniss’ work, acting as the unlikely unifying quality in his seemingly irreconcilable modes of making. The artist foregrounds the cross-section of violence and indulgence, sexuality and death, that is omnipresent in our culture.
With the figurative paintings, McKinniss works from photographs – both found images and pictures he has taken himself. His subjects range from reclining male nudes, to Alicia Silverstone in her role as Batgirl, to an anonymous night-time texter, to former boy-band member Zayn Malik. The artist probes points of unexpected emotional intersection: his bodies are taut with simultaneous aggression and sexuality, defensiveness and vulnerability, pathos and humor. The paintings evoke an onslaught of associations and visual precedents: the erotic enticement of Donatello’s David, the anxiety and romance of Film Noir, the self-reflexiveness of Caravaggio’s Narcissus. The artist’s stylistic mimicry and wide range of subject matter places him in a blurred authorial position: he is at once consumer and creator, spectator and carnivore.
McKinniss’ ghosts delve into the rough sensuality of the painterly act, its close relation to the friction and tactility of sex. The comingling and marbling of fluids on a surface reads as erotic and violent, while the smeared white ghosts are playful but disturbing manifestations of “Le Petit Mort”. The overlaid specters also explicitly reject and ridicule the notion put forth by many abstractionists that painting is pure and unto itself: by seamlessly pairing these cartoonish figures with copycat abstractions, McKinniss presents the painter as an (always) image-ridden image-maker.
Sam McKinniss has been featured in numerous group exhibitions. This is his first exhibition with Team.
Gallery hours Fri-Sun noon to 6 pm
306 Windward Avenue
90291 Venice, CA