Sasha Gordon’s first solo museum show at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami marks a triumphant culmination of the young artist’s fast rise to fame. At 25, the Brooklyn-based, Westchester-born painter already boasts her own multi-section Wikipedia page, and last May she attended the Met Gala as a guest of Balenciaga.
The eight paintings on view in “Sasha Gordon: Surrogate Self”, which opened this past week, combine often-nude self-portraiture with fantastical surrealistic scenes. The overall result makes for an evocative, wide-reaching reflection of an artist at the dawn of her career as she explores facets of her own identity through impossible situations derived in varying degrees from imagination, myth, art history, and personal emotional turmoil. “I think all the figures are doppelgängers of me. I definitely connect with certain figures more than others. I think of them in this ‘Sasha world,’” she said in a recent talk at Soho Beach House with the show’s curator and ICA Miami artistic director Alex Gartenfeld during Miami Art Week.
Take The Knight, 2023, which depicts Sasha-as-knight-in-shining-armor flanked by a throng of nude Sasha-nymphs. The scene is compositionally and narratively similar to a work by late 19th-century French painter Georges Rochegrosse titled Knight of the Flowers, 1894. “I wanted to take on this male role. This has to do a lot with projection, and me seeing myself in other people and pulling back,” she said. “It’s disorienting, in a way.”
Gordon frequently renders her figures so they appear to be making intense, direct eye contact with viewers. “I want certain people to see the paintings and have this connection to the work,” she mused. “I also want some people to feel uncomfortable with it.”
“Sasha Gordon: Surrogate Self” is on view at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami at 61 NE 41st St, Miami, FL 33137 through March 10, 2024.