Sam Falls. Untitled. (Building Blocks, West Hollywood, CA, Red 1) 2012 . Canvas and Metal Grommets. 201 x 149 cm. Courtesy of gallery.


Luce Gallery in Torino, Italy recently had an American artist on view from California, named Sam Falls.  For those who aren’t familiar with Falls’ work, it is a beautiful meeting point between photography and painting/sculpture.  The reasoning for the dissidence of photography from other art forms is due to the continuous conversation in art history about photography and it’s dependance on “apparatus” (in this case a camera), a tool that captures images on film with little physical effort from it’s operator (the artist).  Painting and sculpture are very different from photography where the artist is in constant flux with their materials defined purely on their physical connection to the surface or object which they are in contact with.  Sam Falls has a special gift of breaking these defining laws to what is a photo and what is painting or sculpture.


Sam Falls. Untitled. (Building Blocks, West Hollywood, CA, Dark Blue 1) 2012 . Canvas and Metal Grommets. 201 x 149 cm. Courtesy of gallery.


Sam Falls. Untitled (Building Blocks, West Hollywood, CA, Dark Blue 1) (detail). Courtesy of gallery.


This special gift has been defined by the methods of his studio practice.  Looking at the images of Falls’ canvas works you may think that the dark images are created from some sort of additive process of pigment through a stain, or stencil of some sort.  In fact the dark shapes and gestures are created by the placement of objects (in this case concrete blocks) on a dark pigmented canvas, which is left outside to bake in the Southern Californian sun.  Over time the exposed dark pigment fades to a lighter hue, which is when Falls’ removes the concrete blocks and flatten the canvas, revealing a piece with qualities of a painting that uses a photographic process.  Falls is able to create this body of work without hesitation from the boundaries between artistic disciplines.  Instead he embraced the qualities from multiple disciplines he desired, which coalesced into a unique practice rarely seen today.



Sam Falls. Untitled (Burgundy, Cobalt, Teal, Yellow 5). 2012. Uv Exterior Powder Coated Aluminum, Non-UV Interior Powder Aluminum, UV Exterior Powder Coated Stainless Steel Brackets and Hardware. 122 x 245 x 121,5 cm. Courtesy of gallery.


A newer venture for Falls is his aluminum sculptures that stand upward, spiraling inward using right angles defined by rigid brackets mounted on each corner of the piece.  Looking at the piece you may feel as if Falls is neglecting his discovery of incorporating the photographic process he uses in his canvas works, when is fact he isn’t.  Falls uses UV and non UV powder coat paint which covers the aluminum surfaces.  He creates voids within the work due to the spiral orientation of the upright sheets of aluminum.  When placed outdoors, the sun will hit specific sides of the piece, and due to its orientation shadows will be casted and the slick surfaces of the sculpture will change overtime.  It’s amazing to see how Falls was able to replicate his incorporation of the Sun of his fragile canvas works into these industrious metal sculptures.


Keep an eye out for what Sam Falls and the works he will produce in the future.  His allegiance with the Sun is a key factor to the success of his practice, and not a better place to make his work than the sunny city of Los Angeles, California.


– Contributed by Gregory Ito


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