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Chicago-born, Los Angeles–based artist Sayre Gomez (b. 1982) draws on the social, cultural, and physical landscape of his adopted city in his deeply evocative photorealistic paintings that frequently portray the particularities of Los Angeles that are readily familiar to its inhabitants: the roadside signage, car culture, brilliantly hazy sunsets, parking lot vantage points or overlooks, and silhouetted palm trees. Rather than rendering straightforward representations, his works often feature multilayered imagery that endows the picture plane with a heightened sense of depth. In Hilarity Ensues (2020), he gorgeously depicts a dramatic evening sky as the sun sets over the City of Angels. The soft-focus effect of the dreamy background landscape is abruptly interrupted by the inclusion of a commonplace street trash receptacle filled to the brim with consumer waste, which is painted with almost uncannily realistic precision and prominently situated at the center foreground of the composition. The juxtaposition of natural beauty with manufactured garbage makes subtle reference to human responsibility for the air pollution contributing to the abnormally dazzling sunsets for which the city has become known.
Photo: Paul Salveson, courtesy the artist and François Ghebaly, Los Angeles