Sean Landers

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April 26 – June 16, 2012

greengrassi -  1a Kempsford Road London SE11 4NU

On Sean Landers’ first visit to the Medici Chapel, what impressed him most were cartoons by Michelangelo scrawled on to unfinished plaster walls. Landers saw more humanity in this minor form by the great master than in anything else there. The doodles, half-animal half-human amalgams, provided a pure glimpse into the truth of Michelangelo. Therein, the ‘truth of the artist’ would become Landers’ own life’s pursuit.In his latest exhibit at Andrea Rosen Gallery he’s at it again. Large text paintings are back with a vengeance accompanied by a group of bronze sculptures – a confederacy of dunces – both stoic and fantastically absurd. The painted texts, of varying colours and sizes, read differently on three types of back-ground: clouded skies, pitch-blackness and white.

The writing on the white paintings is most familiar. It records the artist’s thoughts as he makes the paintings. As opposed to his earlier more graphic paintings, these are exploded open and bursting with colour. We’ve entered his skull conceptually and visually. Words and phrases ricochet off the walls of his cranium and we are among the brushstrokes, like Clement Greenberg imagining himself sailing through the drips of a Jackson Pollock. In them we find elation, despair, self-aggrandizement and self-loathing – all the good manic-depressive stuff of a genuine artist. Landers has always had an uncanny knack for portraying himself so well that one inevitably sees oneself. Frankly, the last artist to do this as effectively was Rembrandt. Within the saddening eyes of his ever-ageing self-portraits, we identify with the little bit of hope that is most crushingly tragic, most telling of life’s ultimate hopelessness. Similarly, in Landers’ paintings it is this same glimmer of hopefulness that makes them so telling, and worthy of our empathy. It is the lament of Icarus when his feathers began to melt off of his arms. It is the frustration of the certain and endless failure of Sisyphus, the panicked imprisonment of the Minotaur and the futile gaze of Narcissus.

Image above : Sean Landers, MacPhee, oil on linen, 48 x 45 inches,  121.9 x 114.3 cm

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Sean Landers

Binoculars, 2012

Oil on linen

48 x 71 inches

121.9 x 180.3 cm

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Sean Landers

Hourglass, 2012

Oil on linen

32 x 40 inches

81.3 x 101.6 cm

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Sean Landers

Pipes, 2012

Oil on linen

48 x 71 inches

121.9  x 180.3  cm

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Sean Landers

Skull, 2012

Oil on linen

32 x 40 inches

81.3  x 101.6  cm

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Sean Landers

Snow Globe, 2012

Oil on linen

32 x 40 inches

81.3  x 101.6  cm

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Sean Landers

MacGregor, 2009

oil on canvas

40 x 32 inches

101.6  x 81.3  cm

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Sean Landers

Istallation view

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Sean Landers

Istallation view

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Sean Landers

Istallation view

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Sean Landers

Istallation view