Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sam Samore: The Dark Suspicion @D'Amelio Terras

JTF (just the facts): A total of 7 large scale color photographs, framed in white and not matted, and hung in the main gallery space. All of the works are archival ink prints on rag paper taken in 2011, each 34x60 or reverse, in editions of 2+1AP. (Installation shots at right.)

Comments/Context: We've all heard the metaphor of the multiple faces that each of us has, the masks we wear in different situations, or the many facets of personality that are contained in one single person. Sam Samore's new photographs try to capture this subtle multiplicity via impressionistic images of women's faces, piled on top of each other in intersecting planes.
The fragmenting that Samore employs is almost Cubist in its approach: faces are seen from multiple angles and distances, mixing near and far, profile and frontal, all at the same time; most are covered in washes of soft painterly color and dominated by enlarged grainy close-ups. These multiple partial images create a sense of fleeting cinematic motion, of wisps of personality flashing and disappearing. In the best of the works, the many faces seem to coalesce into one, multi-dimensional portrait; in others, the faces separate into a kind of disconnected intertwined chaos. A few of the pictures effectively employ the 1980s Robert Palmer whitewash and red lipstick look for a heightened sense of unreal contrast.

In the end, these images don't depict anyone in specific, but a kind of dreamworld woman, caught in a series of psychological iterations and multi-step fantasies. As such, they seem ephemeral, a momentary glimpse of a variety of female roles and personalities, collapsed into one.

Collector's POV: The prints in this show are priced at $22000 each. Samore's works have been available in the secondary markets from time to time, with recent sales coming between $4000 and $16000.

My favorite image in the show was The Dark Suspicion #1, 2011; it's the horizontal image on the right in the middle installation shot. I like the way the overlapping faces are shown at three different distances, creating a multi-layered composition of echoes.

Rating: * (one star) GOOD (rating system described here)
Transit Hub:
  • Exhibit: The Suicidist @MoMA PS1, 2006 (here)
Through February 19th
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New York, NY 10011

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