March 4-April 15, 2023
Jessica Silverman is pleased to announce Sam Falls’ first solo exhibition with the gallery and in San Francisco, running from March 4 to April 15, 2023. Presenting a new body of work including paintings and wall-mounted ceramics, the exhibition will be the first that directly references the manifold ecologies of Falls’ current home in the Hudson Valley. Falls will also debut a new series of freestanding split-rail fences made entirely of cast glass. This exhibition coincides with the artist’s first major solo museum show, Sam Falls: We Are Dust and Shadow, currently on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland through June 11, 2023.
In his gallery exhibition, Falls investigates the human impulse to shape or impose boundaries on nature, as expressed through new glass fence sculptures Between Us Only Light and Feather by Feather (both 2023) influenced by his childhood in Vermont and the split-rail fences common throughout the Northeast. Molded from a fence on the artist’s farm in upstate New York and cast from glass in a variety of hues, these works glow when light hits them. Falls carves the original wooden fences by hand with poetic verses about nature and mortality from poets like Emily Dickinson, Richard Brautigan, Frank Stanford, David Berman, and Jamie Kanzler. The artist includes his own initials, recalling those historically found on trees or outdoor picnic tables.
On the walls, a new series of rain paintings made by exposing natural pigments to the environment, continues the artist’s engagement with motifs of time, place, and ecological care. One of the largest paintings in the show, Sleep (2022), depicts a horse gazing beyond a split-rail fence, as if alchemically unifying plant and animal life, exploring levels of domestication.
Further works such as The Pain Goes Right Inside and The Only Place I Know (both 2022) depict life-size skeletons made from a detailed arrangement of hydrangea petals, recalling themes from the 1967 painting Woman and Skeleton by Albert York. Exploring time and mortality, these works honor nature’s infinite vitality.
Finally, two new glazed, wall-mounted ceramic tondos memorialize organic life against threats of climate catastrophe. As though creating fossils of plants, the imprints of flowers are filled with melted glass, suggesting notions of preservation and temporality at the heart of the artist’s practice. Traversing this vast array of mediums, the exhibition evinces the timelessness of the natural world and a poetics of impermanence.
Sam Falls was born in 1984 in San Diego, CA and grew up in Vermont. He lives and works in New York, NY. He received his BA from Reed College, Portland, OR and his MFA from ICP-Bard, New York, NY. Falls is currently the subject of a solo exhibition at MOCA Cleveland, OH. Falls has had solo exhibitions at Laumeier Sculpture Park, Saint Louis, MO (2019); Frankfurter Kunstverein, Germany (2018); Museo d’Arte Moderna e Contemporaneo di Trento e Rovereto, Italy (2018); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2017); Zabludowicz Collection, London (2016); The Kitchen, New York (2015); Ballroom Marfa, Texas (2015); Pomona College Museum of Art, CA (2014); Public Art Fund, New York (2014); LAXART, Los Angeles (2013); and Printed Matter, New York, (2012). The artist’s work is in the permanent collections of Centre Pompidou, Paris; Foundation Louis Vuitton, Paris; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and Palm Springs Art Museum, CA.