Sayre Gomez

Sayre Gomez

In a corridor just inside Ghebaly Gallery, a faded sign, barely legible for its low contrast, reads “Déjà Vu.” This isn’t merely a placard bearing the title of Sayre Gomez‘ show; it’s an integral painting whose dual function niftily preludes the awaiting parade of trompe l’oeil paintings. Inside the exhibition space, you’re confronted with a glass door whose commercial exterior appearance blatantly disjoins its white-walled environs. But it isn’t really a door; it’s Behind Door # 2 (2017, pictured above), a lifelike painting hung to appear as though you could open it and step inside. Furthering this incongruence, a gorgeous tropical sunset lies beyond the threshold. On this autumn afternoon, you almost wish it were real—but as you approach, trompe l’oeil inkjet dots emerge, revealing the sunset as a second layer of artifice. Such wonder followed by wistfulness pervades the total installation spiraling through three rooms. Smaller paintings depict blurry buildings beyond chain link fences ascended by vine tendrils. In a more nostalgic series, stickers proclaiming fanciful self-identifications or scholastic judgments dot wooden panels as in a child’s bedroom. Trompe l’oeil painting may be resurging, but illusionism is rarely enough; spatial and conceptual context are key to success. Gomez’ paintings are impressive not only for their technical ingenuity and clever location, but especially for their strong evocations of lack of belonging.

Ghebaly Gallery
2245 E. Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90021
Show runs through Nov. 18