Sam Gordon at Feature Inc

Sam Gordon’s abstraction poses a photographer’s take on his show title, Trompe L’Oeil (On view at Feature Inc. through May 26th). A painter, photographer, and videographer, Gordon collects and weaves bits of the outside world, in his paintings of dust on mirrors and acrylic and bleach patterns on ratty quilts. Rather than the scrupulously reductive process of someone like Tony Matelli, though, Gordon’s spontaneity and raw materials feel like the naked cruise you get from a Wendy White or Terry Winters, or the anything-goes formalism of early experimental film. Each canvas forms a moving tessellation: in Air Mail, handkerchiefs and scraps of pants form a grid of rectangles, over which Gordon paints a tunnel of air mail envelope borders. On another, concentric loops of chains form negative space in a crusty layer of studio sweepings (staples, dust, little bits of paper). - Whitney Kimball, New York City Contributor

Sam Gordon | Flash (Let the flash flash when the flash wants to flash), 2010; bleach, acrylic paint, spray paint, ink-jet iron-on transfer, PVA sizing on sewn clothes and canvas remnants, artist pins (Photo courtesy of Feature Inc)

A particularly funny addition is Impossible Object, a painting of a metal s-shape, with nonsensically-overlapping edges; Gordon’s drippy, hand-painted checkerboard backdrop laughs off the hard ruler required to make this thing. Film references (like mirrors, physical reproductions of the surrounding world), appear as winking confirmations of the everything-ness in these pictures. Film strips appear as negative shapes on one mirror-with-dust-sweepings, and sprocket holes are painted onto another canvas. In another painting, Play/Pause, triangles reference video, and in Flash, a layered hexagon evokes a camera shutter. And everything really is up for grabs here, as evidenced by the finishing seal: thumbnail sketches, the most fundamental and disposable elements, are pasted in corners, or collaged in the center of the paintings make a deeper space. If Gordon’s kicking up dirt, every speck settles right in place.

Sam Gordon | Screen, 2012; nine paintings from 2005-7 reconfigured into a folding screen; 72.5” high, width and depth variable (Photo courtesy of Feature Inc)

Sam Gordon | Impossible Object, 2010; acrylic paint, spray paint, ink-jet iron-on transfer on sewn clothes and fabric remnants; 58 x 58” (Photo courtesy of Feature Inc)

Sam Gordon | Air Mail, 2011; bleach, acrylic paint, spray paint, ink jet iron-on transfers, PVA sizing on sewn clothes and canvas remnants; PDF / zine included; 36 x 48” (Photo courtesy of Feature Inc)


Whitney Kimball is a New York-based painter and art writer.

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