As a big fan of the artwork of New York based Tom Sanford, I couldn't wait to see his exhibit last weekend in Harlem at Gitler & _____ located on Broadway & 149th Street. It was a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon and the house was packed.
I discovered his work only last year while running from one Chelsea gallery to another on a crowded Thursday evening, of course, I had to learn more. His mainly figurative colorful and very detailed paintings range from historical works depicting celebrity assassinations to portraits of gangsta rappers and teen pop tarts to elaborate cosmologies weaved together from Hollywood movies. They reflect a deep ambivalence about the American cultural condition. A large portion of his latest series and over the past couple years revolves are the citizens of NYC, portraits and their cultural environment.For this exhibit, What’s Good in The ‘Hood?, Sanford introduces 25 ink portraits of semi-known and famous Harlem citizens and one large-scale oil painting (A Train, 2014, above.) They are compromised of various friends, family members, fellow artists and gallivants who have helped shape the Hamilton Heights neighborhood that Sanford has called home for the last 12 years. Incorporated throughout are dozens of half-subliminal cues in the form of signage, fashions, and novelties that come together to create a distinct love letter to this slice of the City and those who inhabit it.
Sanford exaggerates his subjects’ features while stopping just shy of pop surrealism. His portraits are aspirational; he paints what and who he loves, blemishes and all, and reveals in his work what all seasoned New Yorkers know but often forget: we are vulnerable creatures who live in a city that obliges us (some more than others) to become extroverts.
Have a look at the exhibit...
Tom Sanford & The A Train (above)
For more information on Tom Sanford and his work look here: http://www.tomsanford.com and on Instagram at @uberkunst.
Hours are mainly weekend only, contact Elliott Avi Gitler at firstname.lastname@example.org / (210) 887-4764 for more info or an appointment.