In collaboration with
November 3 – December 22, 2017
Peres Projects and McNamara Art Projects was pleased to present Dean Sameshima, the first show by American artist Dean Sameshima in Hong Kong, featuring a new series of “documentary paintings” based on the artist’s media archive, and a continued investigation of queer desires and nostalgia through the method of documentary. Inherent aspects of his work stretch from repression, persecution, nostalgia for prelapsarian decadence or sexual adventure, to his own journey to understand himself within a specific lineage of cultural references within the queer community.
In his artistic practice, Sameshima is both a collector of images and an archivist. For him, the very act of collection is an exercise in obsession. His work is centered around the accumulation and reworking of imagery which pertains to DIY movements, punk and queer culture; imagery which, whether culled from the internet, magazines, encyclopedias, or pornographic publications, operate like notes from the underground and coded signifiers of gay culture. In this way, Sameshima is conserving the fragile narratives of subculture and marginalized social groups, revising their symbols and languages into compositions, and in effect, giving them a new context, a life resurrected.
The compositions of his new paintings are based on book covers, receipts and black and white photocopies from the artists’ extensive library. With each work, Sameshima encounters the documentary power of painting, and its own capability to “record” in a seemingly pragmatic way, like a snapshot or a photocopy. Despite the machine-made quality one at first encounters in viewing the numbers, dates, and information which float alone on his canvases, there is something implicitly human which the viewer arrives at by moving closer to Sameshima’s works. It is that their very existence, the lengthy and contemplative painterly process from which they were selected and came into being, is an act of self-preservation, and, more politically, an important step towards uplifting queer and forgotten histories.