Andrew Sendor: Saturday’s Ascent

In advance of his solo show opening March 30 at Sperone Westwater in the Bowery—his third with the gallery—artist Andrew Sendor invited Artspace to his Brooklyn studio for a preview. Listening to the artist talk about his work gives an immediate sense of just how complicated it all can be, weaving disparate elements with technical precision into narrative form. Sendor jumps between discussion of his paintings, their status as sculptural objects, their source photographs, his actors (this is the first time they’re not all artists), and his new experimentation with audio narration (oh, and his dreams, his interest in astrology, his fear of bears, his landlord’s instinctual eye, his long hours painting in Jeff Koons’s studio...) in such a way that there’s no doubt it’s all designed to work in synchronicity, but that also leaves little guidance on just how to put it all together. But really, this is part of the point.

Inside Sendor’s studio, we got an early look at Saturday’s Ascent, which is a sort of novella told in various media about the titular horse-trainer, who disappears along the mountainous coast of southeast Greenland during a hiking expedition. Though Sendor happily explained Saturday’s disappearance in detail (and we happily listened), the fictional story is not designed to be fully ingested in a single sitting—if, indeed, at all.

A four-minute audio track gives the crux of it: Saturday’s mysterious disappearance, her family in mourning, some drama between her husband and his twin, a mystic’s attempt to divine her location. Pithy titles anchor the paintings, but Sendor confessed his worry that his audience will confuse the pictures for mere illustrations of flights of fancy. Ultimately, he says, it isn’t about the story he’s trying tell, but about the ways in which each individual image operates as a vessel for some story, a vehicle for questioning the function of images, both in how they transmit information and how the audience pours in a part of themselves, yearning for an understanding.

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