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Studio Visit

In Photos: See Andrew Sendor's Studio in Preparation For His Sperone Westwater Exhibition


In Photos: See Andrew Sendor's Studio in Preparation For His Sperone Westwater Exhibition
Andrew Sendor in his studio

In advance of his solo show opening March 30 at Sperone Westwater in the Bowery—his third with the gallery—artist Andrew Sendor invited Artspace to his Brooklyn studio for a preview. Listening to the artist talk about his work gives an immediate sense of just how complicated it all can be, weaving disparate elements with technical precision into narrative form. Sendor jumps between discussion of his paintings, their status as sculptural objects, their source photographs, his actors (this is the first time they’re not all artists), and his new experimentation with audio narration (oh, and his dreams, his interest in astrology, his fear of bears, his landlord’s instinctual eye, his long hours painting in Jeff Koons’s studio...) in such a way that there’s no doubt it’s all designed to work in synchronicity, but that also leaves little guidance on just how to put it all together. But really, this is part of the point.

Inside Sendor’s studio, we got an early look at Saturday’s Ascent, which is a sort of novella told in various media about the titular horse-trainer, who disappears along the mountainous coast of southeast Greenland during a hiking expedition. Though Sendor happily explained Saturday’s disappearance in detail (and we happily listened), the fictional story is not designed to be fully ingested in a single sitting—if, indeed, at all.

A four-minute audio track gives the crux of it: Saturday’s mysterious disappearance, her family in mourning, some drama between her husband and his twin, a mystic’s attempt to divine her location. Pithy titles anchor the paintings, but Sendor confessed his worry that his audience will confuse the pictures for mere illustrations of flights of fancy. Ultimately, he says, it isn’t about the story he’s trying tell, but about the ways in which each individual image operates as a vessel for some story, a vehicle for questioning the function of images, both in how they transmit information and how the audience pours in a part of themselves, yearning for an understanding.


Andrew SendorThe central work, composed of a painting of Saturday’s daughter atop a plinth, awaits finishing with a gray border along the right edge of the painting, which the artist says will transform the painting into a sculpture by pulling the viewer around its orbit.


Andrew SendorSendor holds an exhibition catalog of earlier paintings against a new work, showing the same actor portraying different characters throughout his various series. Many of Sendor’s works begin as visions, which coalesce into fictional narratives and scripts, as he hires actors and other artists to play his characters’ roles.


Andrew SendorA last-minute addition to the show nears completion. The paintings, most of which are made on plexiglass, are drawn from photographs that Sendor makes from his scripts. In the past, Sendor has experimented with narrative film, but in Saturday’s Ascent, elements of the narrative will be relayed over a four-minute audio track.


Andrew SendorSendor insists that his new works are closer to sculptures than paintings, as the custom-made shelves, wooden frames, and pedestals operate as fictitious found objects, referencing the domestic backstories of his characters and the roles images play in their lives.


Andrew SendorThe artist’s smooth, technical application of paint was developed, in part, during his time working in Koons’s painting studio. These new paintings are done in lighter shade than other works, Sendor says, with the darkest gray only approaching 80% black.


Andrew SendorSendor explains the layout of his upcoming exhibition. The works won’t be organized in a strictly linear fashion, as Sendor prefers his audience to cobble together narratives semi-independent of his own, drawing on their own visions and internal references to take part in the fabrication of a story.


Andrew Sendor, Saturday’s Ascent, opens at Sperone Westwater on Thursday, March 30, 2017.


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