Exhibition | Sherman Sam: 'Together we are heavy' | at | London | Art Week

Sherman Sam: 'Together we are heavy'

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Thursday, 17 November 2016 to Saturday, 17 December 2016
Wednesday, 16 November 2016 -
6:00pm to 8:00pm

Annka Kultys Gallery is pleased to present Together We’re Heavy an exhibition of recently completed drawings and paintings by Sherman Sam. This marks the gallery’s second exhibition with the artist, and the artist’s first solo presentation in London.

For the past two decades, Sam has become known for abstract oil paintings and drawings that avoid facile explanations or recognisable visual associations. Instead, Sam uses colour, surface, light and intuition to create a textured abstract visual reality, “free from ideology”. There is no specificity, no place, no person. The work opposes typically Western notions of narrative structure altogether. At the same time, Sam takes his titles from song lyrics — Just a perfect day, Disco Heaven, Only move to the beat — however, this is just a testament to the artist’s playful nature. The titles trick the viewer into searching for a correlation between lyric and painting that does not exist, but this unreturned quest, when abandoned, leaves room for meditation. The work exists solely on its strength as art, allowing for a more liberated experience.

The exhibition takes its title from the 2004 album Together We’re Heavy by Polyphonic Spree. The musical references, though not directly related to the series of paintings and drawings, function as found objects. While the paintings are silent, the music brings a verbal and cultural history that pertains more to what Sam was listening to in a particular moment — when Lou Reed died, for example. The resulting compositions are not unlike musical scores. Much like the ambient sounds of Polyphonic Spree, the works, in themselves, are polyphonic, echoing beyond the frame. Each particular mark on a drawing is attached to a motion, which seems to extend well past the page. For Sam, the process is organic, and could be related to the Japanese philosophy Wabi-Sabi, with its embrace of transience and imperfections. A drawing starts as a piece of paper folded in his bag or pocket, producing an irregular shape, layered with graphite and coloured pencil. The paintings are characteristically handmade objects, roughly painted and asymmetric, with angular lines and varying textures, yet they are balanced by curves and soft colours that fade into the harsher greens and browns. The outcome is refreshingly incomplete, creating an overwhelming sense of calm.


Above: Installation view, Sherman Sam Together We’re Heavy at Annka Kultys Gallery, London, 2016. © Sherman Sam. Photo: Damian Griffiths

Artist ( Description ): 

Sherman Sam is an artist, writer and curator based between London and Singapore.  His paintings and drawings reference nature and reverie, yet also contain an answering sense of longing and determination.   Generally no taller than 30 centimetres, Sam’s paintings are painted on wooden panels, while his drawings, slightly larger and with layered lines on irregularly shaped paper, are typically shown taped to the wall in the plastic sleeves in which they were shipped.  As much as Sam’s drawing concerns the ontological nature of drawing, it is sourced within the nature of abstraction and often uses the language of drawing as a point of departure.  His work possesses a searching, offhand quality that generates pictorial space while recovering memory and experience, presenting the image as an incomplete ideal.

Born Singapore in 1966, Sam studied at Parson-in-Paris, Paris, the Otis Art Institute of the Parsons School of Design, Los Angeles, earning his BFA at the San Francisco Art Institute in 1991, and a Master of Letters in History of Art from the University of Oxford in 1997.  He was awarded the Arts Council London’s Inspire Curatorial Fellowship at the Hayward Gallery, London in 2009.  Sam has written extensively for the Brooklyn Rail and is currently a featured writer for Artforum.

Sam has exhibited extensively internationally, including solo shows at:  Some Walls, Oakland; Rubicon Gallery, Dublin; One-Hour Gallery at The Hayward, London; The Suburban, Chicago; Centro de Arte S Joao da Madeira, S Joao da Madeira, Portugal; and the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford.

His work has been included in group exhibitions at: Feature, Inc., New York; Janet Kurnatowski Gallery, Brooklyn; The Drawing Room, London; Sue Scott Gallery, New York; Rubicon Gallery, Dublin; Kunsthalle Centro Cultural Andratx, Majorca; and Model Arts and Niland Gallery, Sligo, Ireland.

+44 20 3302 6070
Venue ( Address ): 

472 Hackney Road, Unit 3, 1st Floor | London E2 9EQ

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