K Contemporary is exited to showcase a solo exhibition by Denver-based artist Andrew Jensdotter, titled “Road Work.” The show features new work by the artist, including sculpture, drawing and painting, on both the first and second floors of the gallery. This is his first regional solo exhibition following his 2019 show at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Denver. After a tumultuous year, during which the artist experienced a near-death health scare followed by the pandemic, Jensdotter’s work is a reflection on his transitional states of being. “We are, from the womb, in a place of pure comfort and security for a time - our first place of consciousness - until we are expelled into what must feel like a harsh reality. Then we learn to breathe air, but the gravity is there. We live with this gravity. We are wounded, we find pleasure, but we are always pursuing that return to serenity,” said Jensdotter.
“The idea of paradise and expulsion is interesting in that it implies a constant state of building and degradation of place. We are at home; we are removed from home. It feels like a constant game of chutes and ladders.” “Road Work” will feature the artist’s signature carved latex paintings in a series of “persona” portraits, or what the artist terms, “Character Icons.” As with previous carved paintings, Jensdotter builds the surface with an extended series of representational portraits painted over the previous portrait. Instead of painting a specific individual over and over, each painting is a composite of an “archetype” of character, such as “hero,” “degenerate,” “jester.” The source material is drawn from internet image searches, and the final stage of painting is a reductive carving into dried thick paint to render the images into a single flat planar reading. With this exhibit, Jensdotter debuts a new process, akin to the carved series, that uses a mechanical grinder to render the final painting.
The show also features wall sculpture, paintings and drawings with the artist’s reintroduction of basic symbology into his abstractions. Wandering workers at the turn of the 19th century left markings on roadways, trees and bridges to assist future travelers with basic messages, such as, “bad water, don’t drink.” Jensdotter views this new body of work as inscriptions of his own experience while “leaving signs” along the road for others. The exhibition begins May 15 with an opening event from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and runs through June 26.