Sam Falls

M+B is pleased to announce an exhibition of new work by Sam Falls, a two-part exhibition of painted photographs, works on paper and sculptures on view at both M+B and China Art Objects, Los Angeles. Sam Falls runs from February 18 through March 31, 2012, with an opening reception for the artist on Saturday, February 18 from 6 to 8 pm.


The work in this show is involved with my interest in representing time, its persistence and the signs of life present in the inanimate. Using photographic processes combined with sculptural and painterly material, I’m trying to give a feeling to constant variables — like light and weather — as well as our relative experiences of time. Some of the artworks capture a space and expand it, some look at the space within methods of production and their controlled aesthetics and others look to bridge the gap between viewer and artist by offering a dialogue to be created with the object itself and an evolutionary relationship to persist over time with the viewer.

The house pictures in this show were taken in Joshua Tree, California on film. They serve at once as documentation of reciprocal artworks of mine in the making, as well as unique pieces themselves. I put large colored sheets of fabric along the interior walls of these burnt out houses to create a different, but no less honest, image of the house. The fabric was left up to fade where it was exposed to the sun by missing windows and doors from the overall architecture, creating an imprint via light on the fabric, not so different from a photogram. The film documentation of these altered houses was scanned into the computer, and I used the color-picker in Photoshop to choose the color of the fabric and mimic its geometry over the image. I printed the pictures and took samples of the Photoshop-produced colors to Home Depot where they digitally matched the colors and mixed enamel house paints. Just as Photoshop samples only a part of the color, so does the paint matcher at Home Depot. I then physically painted over the sky of these roofless houses using a roller, so the representation of these places is manipulated but true. I put the color inside the home physically with the fabric, I put that representation on film with light, I put color on top of the picture digitally and then, finally, I physically painted the color on the image: mimicking reality and creating something, perhaps, more in tune. Beyond this, the photograph is not only an image, but also a new object. It is formed over time, rather than captured in an instant.

The colored aluminum sculptures take on light and representation in another format. Rather than depicting time past, they are set up to picture time to come. Over time, these sculptures will create compositions on themselves, depicting their very form and the ability of metal to bend and hold its own rigidity and shape permanently. The sculptures are propositions inside the gallery that only come to fruition when installed permanently outdoors. In contrast to most outdoor sculpture intended to defy the burden of time, these sculptures grow symbiotically with time and age in the same way the viewer does. The aluminum sculptures are first fully powder coated with a resilient UV protected exterior grade pigment that will persist over time. Then, only the inside — where the shadows created from the sun will fall from the bent angles — is powder coated again with the same color, but this time lacking the UV protection. Over time, the color on the interior side will desaturate, depicting each sculpture's unique shape. As the interior color fades, the outside of the sculpture will hold fast, serving as an index of the original color. Eventually, the inside pigment will fully disappear to expose the original coat, thus reversing the process and returning the sculpture to its original state. You know, like birth and death.

The natural steel sculptures take on the same strategy as the aluminum ones. But rather than using color and light as the variable and catalyst, these sculptures use the actual material and oxidation. Half of the sculpture is hot-rolled carbon steel, while the matching counterpart is stainless steel. When placed outdoors, the hot-rolled side will rust and chemically alter the appearance, while the stainless side remains the constant, serving as a referent to the beginning. The sculpture is cut from a computer rendering of a torn piece of paper. This form was used to contrast the polar vulnerabilities of these opposing materials that have been the building blocks of Western civilization: language and knowledge passed on through print versus the strength and power of metal. Similarly, the steel framed sheets of stainless steel hung outdoors will change over time with the frame aging and distinguishing itself from that which it frames. This piece serves to document time, while also imaging the elements as artworks constantly changing, rather than formed and sealed indoors as is so often the case.

Finally, the painted prints on linen are film photographs of the models I created for the colored aluminum sculptures. I scanned them into Photoshop, where I digitally applied two brush strokes with the "wet media brush." That new image was printed on linen, and then I physically applied two more brush strokes with a wet acrylic brush. These pieces look at how models become reality and, in turn, reality becomes the model. The time that passes between conception and production is significant and productive. The cold metal sculptures that are fabricated in a warehouse come from intimate time spent on a small scale in my studio, just as the digital rendering of a programmed brush can delineate a warm and careful brush stroke in real life.

Overall, the show hopes to look at time spent and time to come — tied together with color, material and a sense of death.

Thanks, hope you like the show.


Sam Falls
Los Angeles
February 2012

Sam Falls (b. 1984, San Diego, CA) received his BA from Reed College in 2007 and MFA from ICP-Bard in 2010. Falls’ work has been exhibited in the US and abroad, including solo exhibitions at West Street Gallery (New York), Higher Pictures (New York), Fotografiska (Stockholm) and China Art Objects (Los Angeles). Falls is the 2010 recipient of the Tierney Fellowship, and his work has been written about in Modern Painters, ARTFORUM, Frieze and Aperture. His most recent monographs include Val Verde (Karma, 2011), Paint Paper Palms (Dashwood Books, 2011) and Visible Library (Lay Flat, 2011). Falls lives and works in Los Angeles. This is his first solo exhibition with M+B.