Some art is just better in the dark. I discovered the completely enchanting artworks of Sam Tufnell this year at the Context Art Fair and was instantly delighted by his vibrantly-colored, translucent sculptures of pop culture subjects that sit on illuminated pedestals. Fantastic.
When I heard about Inappropriation, Tufnell’s current exhibit over at Castle Fitzjohn Gallery, I knew I had to bring you some serious photos and news of this cool happening. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I am a little bit late to the game at this point, and now we are in the final week of the exhibit, so there is no time to waste! Get thee to Castle Fitzjohns, post haste!
Sam Tufnell is a graduate of the SVA, who exploded on to the art scene a few years ago with his unique style of visually appealing, yet intrinsically satirical, illuminated sculpture. After selling out consistently at major art fairs, his first Museum show last year (where a piece was stolen!), a collaboration with the New Museum, numerous public installations, such as Gnome Mountain (which I have also seen referred to as “Gnomes on the Mountain”) not to mention — but you can see I am about to — his works becoming a hot item with major collectors, Castle Fitzjohns decided it was time for a full on solo show, and Inappropration was born.
Tufnell has created a totally immersive illuminated environment that encompasses the full gallery space. Viewing the work in this unlit setting, it becomes an almost HD experience from a visual perspective. The subject matter of these works encompass a mini-retrospective of the different series that have been been a hit for the artist over his career, as well as new works created just for the show.
Tufnell’s cast resin works are almost otherworldly to see scattered across a full, darkened gallery setting. The translucent plastic, gathered in assemblages of the strange objects that our culture creates and leaves behind — crumpled cans, Darth Vader heads, Batman figurines, booze bottles, coffee cups, toys and small scale busts of Marilyn Monroe, Jesus and Benjamin Franklin — create a remarkable beauty with their tones of dayglo pink and yellow, blue and green, like a random commentary on the modern world crafted in Jello. It reminded me of Mike Kelley’s expansive Superman Origin Story that was up at Hauser & Wirth a couple of years ago. If you saw that exhibit, you will understand the comparison.
Sam Tufnell’s Inappropriation Will Be On View Through June 30th, 2017 at Castle Fitzjohns Gallery, Located at 98 Orchard Street, Just South of Delancey, in NYC.