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Sam Lopes


May 12 - June 17, 2023

Opening Reception : May 12, 2023 6-8 pm

Klaus von Nichtssagend is pleased to announce a solo show of works by Sam Lopes, the gallery’s second with the San Francisco-based  artist. The exhibition will feature a series of framed ink drawings on paper, as well as a parallel series of painted woodblock mosaic works.

Lopes’s drawings are extracted from a sketchbook in which he drew spontaneous imagery from dreams or after pulling a tarot card. These works speak the languages of metaphor, color, and emotion, capturing the unknowable landscape of the unconscious.  The immediacy of the drawings premonishes the formation of the more slowly developed wooden block constructions; a figure looking at an abstract moon while standing in the sea forecasts a geometric composition, and a group of people working together to stack bricks indicates the labor and craftsmanship of mosaic.

The mosaics are made from scrap strips of wood from a job milling baseboard. The strips are cross-cut, painted, and clamped together, then cut at an angle, rearranged, glued and clamped a second time. This meticulous process forces a deep consideration of compositional arrangement, looking to traditions of improvised geometric artworks like the Gee’s Bend quilt makers. The colors in the blocks reference pattern but also rhythm, frequency and tone, creating an experience that calls out to multiple embodied sensations.

As a trans person who’s generally passing and therefore partially invisible, I spend a lot of time in my head, validating my own existence. It’s also necessary to stay attuned to my body so that I can sense danger.  I am existing in a complicated body and gender experience despite that not being apparent. Luckily for me, these hard to define interstitial spaces are where all of my favorite things live: complex emotion, music, art.  I think learning to respond to what’s beautiful, or what the universe is telling you to create in the midst of so much suffering, is similar to listening to and trusting yourself amidst a lot of noise and judgment about your identity.
-Sam Lopes

Sam Lopes lives and works in San Francisco, CA. He holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA from California College of the Arts. He has recently exhibited at ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives in Los Angeles and the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard in Cambridge, MA, He has work in the collection of the RISD Museum in Providence, RI.