Stephen Friedman Gallery in London is happy to current American artist Sasha Gordon’s first solo exhibition in Europe. Gordon paints surreal, anthropomorphic variations of herself in hyper-realistic element. The artist makes use of these doppelgängers to discover the complexity of her identification as a younger, queer, Asian-American lady. Her observe recollects the erotic, extremely charged work of Paul Cadmus and his documentation of homosexual life in early Twentieth-century New York. Gordon’s work additionally resonates with Caroline Coon’s crisp-edged work and Amanda Ba’s unsettling figuration.
On this new physique of labor, Gordon depicts herself in an uncommon array of fabric kinds, transposing her bodily traits into animal, botanical and even geological options. By these avatars she portrays the othering of unconventional human our bodies and examines her personal experiences of alienation, while difficult the logic of sure limiting social norms.
One portray portrays the artist as dwelling topiary, her physique coated from head-to-toe in painstakingly rendered inexperienced leaves. Recalling classical depictions of Aphrodite, the goddess of sexual love, the determine stands in a contrapposto pose and preserves her modesty with two effectively positioned palms. This typical picture of feminine magnificence is threatened by one other model of the artist who brandishes a big pair of gardening shears (alarmingly near the determine’s genitalia – a tongue-in-cheek allusion to lesbian intercourse). Gordon celebrates the interloper’s physique by stripping her of clothes, utilizing naturalistic pores and skin tones to intensify her curves in an additional problem to conventions of femininity.
In one other work, Gordon transforms herself right into a cat, exploring the artist’s burgeoning consciousness of being queer. Gordon explains: “Cats are home animals; they’re managed by their proprietor but concurrently have a thoughts of their very own. The portray portrays my difficulties with my sexuality, experiencing compulsive heterosexuality and never understanding why.” Right here, the artist makes use of anthropomorphism to analyse, and study from, sophisticated parts of her psyche.
Gordon additionally tackles misogyny and the demonisation of girls’s feelings. Whereas anger amongst males is often perceived as a manifestation of power or energy, in girls it’s usually labelled an indication of instability. As a substitute, the artist claims her proper to specific rage, reimagining herself as an erupting volcano; gritting her tooth, she paints herself overflowing with lava-like emotion.
Projecting herself into weird, dream-like situations, and disrupting entrenched notions of gender and sexuality, Gordon turns conventional figuration firmly on its head.