The Playroom - Self Portraits, 2023
Project Native Informant, London
The Playroom - Self Portraits 2023
Project Native Informant, London
In his second solo exhibition at Project Native Informant, titled The Playroom - Self Portraits, running from 19 April to 20 May 2023, New York based artist Adam Gordon presents a new group of paintings.
An artist exemplary in enveloping the viewer in environments and experiences both remote and sensuous, Gordon’s multi-disciplinary practice articulates the shifting dynamics of the ever alienating present. Ranging between totalizing built installations, constructed encounters, and brooding paintings and photographs, his practice is multifaceted, but unified in its pursuit of a specific, uncanny atmosphere. These works do not depict another world, but mirror the one we inhabit every day.
In Gordon’s first exhibition at the gallery, Bald Woman, that took place during the second lockdown of the coronavirus pandemic, the artist created a meticulous installation specifically conceived to be viewable from the street. Blacking out all of the gallery windows bar one, Gordon created a desolate, decaying interior that was partly concealed by commonplace office blinds and lit by a single amber ceiling light. Utilising skills often employed by scenic artists, the walls, painted an insipid magnolia, appeared to be damp, crumbling and mouldy. Towards the front of the room, there was a single fence post, an uncanny presence suggestive of a figure when viewed from afar. Characteristic of his work, the installation was activated when a disco light would come on at 9pm every evening, a bathos interruption only witnessed by a handful of people that happened to be walking in the neighbourhood after dark. Bald Woman captured the artist’s precise ability to connect the alienating and the familiar, the minute and the immediate.
In the current exhibition, The Playroom - Self Portraits, Gordon turns to the artistic medium which arguably encompasses those two dynamics—the intimate and the repugnant—all at once, the self portrait. On face value, the self portrait expresses the artist at his most revelatory but like autobiographies, in the transmutation from concept to form, the results may be masked and unfamiliar. All the subjects are female presenting: a woman, a female doll and the artist masking as female. The subjects both reveal and conceal, veil and unveil. Self and other collapse.
The artist builds each composition on top of an underpainting, creating an “infrastructure” that he considers essential to the experience of the work, despite being unseen. This is then followed by a meticulous and detailed rendering of his subjects, which is distorted through the addition of multiple glazes that disrupt the final image. The paintings in the exhibition react against the slick surfaces of contemporary technology and reflect Gordon’s investment in acts of attention, encounter, and emotion. The works are both formally and conceptually layered and exhibit the familiar yet alienating atmosphere so central to his practice.
Adam Gordon lives and works in New York, NY, and received his MFA from Yale University in 2011. Previous solo exhibitions include: Breath, Galleria Zero, Milan, 2022; The Depression of Belgium, Chapter NY, New York, 2022; The Large Lady, Gandt, Queens, NY, 2022; Bald Woman, Project Native Informant, London, 2021; The Grey Room, Power Station, Dallas, 2018; Secession 2000, Hunter/Whitfield, London, 2016. Gordon’s work has been included in group exhibitions at The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; High Art, Paris; New Galerie, Paris; Andrew Kreps, New York; Chapter, New York; Galleria Zero, Milan; National Exemplar, New York; Boates Fine Arts, São Paulo.