Caren Golden Fine Art is pleased to present the exhibition Is There More to Life Than Bread, Blood, and Bicycles? featuring new paintings by Andrew Sendor. For his second solo exhibition at the gallery, Sendor has transformed the traditional white cube into a dimly lit, contemplative space, creating an almost sacred atmosphere that metaphorically weds the mysterious narratives within his paintings. Enveloped in this unworldly aura, his paintings exist not as independent, decontextualized objects, but more as sequential acts in a Romantic play or unfolding chapters in a Victorian novel, exploring the spiritual, the mystical, and the unknowable nature of the afterlife.
Sendor’s disquieting paintings portray demure, anonymous characters juxtaposed against vivid backdrops ranging from timeless and majestic landscapes to ethereal spectrums of transcendent light. Often quoted from antique cartes-de-visite and cabinet cards, Sendor’s figures are immaculately rendered in sharp, nearly photographic detail and deployed upon an even more pristine support of Plexiglas. Large sections of the highly polished surfaces are frequently left unpainted, allowing the reflective areas to function like secret portals that mirror and incorporate the viewer’s presence. At the same time, these windows encourage a contemplation of the history of technological advancement, from the mythology surrounding photographic “truth” and the camera’s ability to capture the soul, to the innumerable and mind-bending uses of manufactured plastics. Sendor expresses an ethnographic curiosity in the visual taxonomies of various people, places, and periods, combining and collapsing them to create otherworldly realms that bridge the spiritual and the material.
Sendor has literally turned a corner in his practice of painting in working with two planes of highly reflective black Plexiglas joined together at a right angle in I use the term, Struggle for Eternal Existence, in a large and metaphorical sense, including dependence of one being on another, and including (which is more important) not only the life of the individual, but success in leaving progeny. As the Plexiglas reflects the imagery from one perpendicular plane to the other, the viewer gets caught in a physically interactive dialogue. This dialogue transcends that of the typical viewing experience with a two dimensional object. An androgynous baby is sitting within an indeterminate abstract space, while a venerable couple clad in all black hovers in a clearly defined picture plane, describing some of the formal concerns that are primary to this current series of paintings. The relationship between the baby and the couple represents the sum of the meaning that is transpiring between the paintings in the exhibition – the cyclical nature of existence and the regeneration of all life, functioning as the central metaphor for the reading of these works.
In The Great Tree of Life, a unique synthesis of symbolic portraiture and non-referential abstraction add up to a conglomerate of pictorial languages, as they traverse throughout history, seamlessly blended into one hybridized image. Rather than merely glorifying the essence of a specific person, Sendor has created a portrait of humanity, at once calling attention to our biological makeup and the psychological roller coaster characteristic of the much explored topic of the human condition – the positive and negative aspects of existence as a human being, especially the inevitable events such as birth, childhood, adolescence, love, sex, reproduction, aging and death.
Andrew Sendor was the subject of a ten page article, (with cover illustration), in the May/June, 2006 issue of Art Premium magazine. His work is currently on view in the Salon Nouveau exhibition at the Engholm Engelhorn Galerie in Vienna, Austria and will be featured in the Phantasmania exhibition at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City this summer. In the Fall of 2007 Sendor’s work will be presented in a solo exhibition at Mogadishni Gallery in Copenhagen, Denmark.