Andrew Sendor, “Saturday’s Ascent” (2017) Installation view, Image courtesy of Sperone Westwater, NY

One of the most difficult things for a figurative painter to do in 2017, is paint the figure. While this might sound initially ridiculous it is not. The body has been visually investigated and depicted since the dawn of time as evidenced in the earlier cave paintings. People look at other people and want to somehow capture those mental images by making them plausible, putting pen to paper or in this case, brush to surface. Another level of obsession that each figurative painter has is their choice of medium. In this case, Andrew Sendor is adept at his craft, not only a particular type of realism as rendered through painting, but also at dictating a mood and or particular energy through his very specific color choices. Often working in monochromatic tones, he plays with the concept of our perception of reality and representation by showing us his version. While the visual interpretation of representation may be the same for everyone, reality is not. In “Saturday’s Ascent” his most recent exhibition at Sperone Westwater in New York, Sendor has focused on ‘snapshots’ of memory. Yet, upon further discussion with the artist, the memories are actually not even his but rather based on an exploratory narrative that delves into elaborate, multi-tiered relationships between a group of fictional friends. Talking to an excited Andrew Sendor about the personalities portrayed in “Saturday’s Ascent,” it would be easier to believe that they exist rather than to think of each figure as a concoction of his imagination for the sake of making a painting, but such is the case.

Andrew Sendor, “Saturday’s Ascent” (2017) Installation view, Image courtesy of Sperone Westwater, NY

Delving into a rather cinematic world with soap opera-like drama, Sendor’s painted figures are given a role not only in the two-dimensional realm, but for the first time –as an audio, played through hidden speakers at 4 minutes and 34 seconds. Weaving a complicated web of intrigue, the characters find themselves in the midst of some upsetting news as one of their own, the female protagonist Saturday, has gone missing. In language woven like a tapestry, the story unfolds in intervals one piece relating to another –all of this is in order to make a painting. Recruiting models and actors, the artist arranges sets for each of the characters he brings to life through the brush…or rather death. There is something quite final about the paintings themselves and they feel almost relic-like, but intended as snapshots. Documenting a moment that may or have may not occurred, Sendor’s characters whether alive or apparitions are eerie in their designated frames. Along with the voiceover, the work functions in an unexpected way, begging for and even extracting curiosity from those with a willingness to pay attention.

Andrew Sendor, “Saturday’s Ascent” (2017) Installation view, Image courtesy of Sperone Westwater, NY

Inside the minimally installed, nearly windowless gallery, time is forgotten. Within the framed walls it’s as if every visitor becomes the artist’s subject or detective. The narrative within the series is left open-ended. Whether the stories proposed are real or not, it doesn’t even matter. The paintings exist as does the audio component and unlike a film that extends from start to finish, fragments may or may not have the intention to be joined. More than meets the eye, the paintings may initially appear to conjure life but are in fact –at least regarding proposed content– tools of fantasy.

Motivated in part by the recent election, as cleverly noted in one of the titles –“Lamar Beray with Helvetica on Wednesday, November 9th., 2016”– Andrew Sendor is an elaborate story-teller with the sole intent of existing as a painter.

As for Saturday, we might have to wait for the next exhibition to find out what happened to her.


Andrew Sendor, “Saturday’s Ascent” is on view March 30th through April 29th, 2017.

Katy Diamond Hamer is the Founding Editor of Eyes Towards the Dove and a frequent contributor to several magazines included Cultured. For more please visit @katyhamer on Instagram.