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Sayre Gomez
at Fourteen30 Contemporary, Portland, Oregon
Recommendation by Richard Speer

Continuing through May 1, 2010

Los Angeles-based artist Sayre Gomez explores identity in the aptly titled exhibition, "Self Expression." Working across diverse media, Gomez paints a portrait of the artist as new-millennial polymath, sandwiched between the transcendent and the banal. First the transcendent. Gomez has painted the front gallery with light: red hanging bulbs, which impart a Luciferian menace, and a pillar illuminated in a focused beam of lemon yellow. This immersive effect is perhaps the most satisfying use of light deployed in the gallery thus far. The back gallery's walls are painted yellow, lending chromatic continuity to the exhibition's two parts. Paintings and objects line the walls, including a stereo system with speakers covered in fuzzy, Yves Klein blue flocking. The stereo plays a loop of ambient sounds recorded outside Gomez's studio one recent evening, most memorably the rantings of an aggressive drunk. To the right of the stereo is a text painting that announces, "You lost me at you," while a suite of abstract paintings have oxidized finishes that lend a stone-washed look. Minimally altered found objects sit on shelves, daring the viewer to guess their contexts. The heterogeneity of effects and media, offered without pat explanations for their disparity, give way to an odd cohesion when considered as a bewildering maze of paths open to this - and every - emerging artist in an era of contemporary art in which it seems more than ever that there is nothing new under the sun.

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