Scraping, pouring, screen-printing, stenciling and sanding, working and reworking with Sam Bornstein

Sam Bornstein

Based in NYC, USA.

MFA Hunter College, 2017
Bard College, 2005

What inspired you to be an artist? When did you begin expressing yourself through creative avenues?

I’ve always painted, wrote, and played music. My parents are artists, and I grew up around artists in Lower Manhattan, New York.

Tell us about your artistic journey: where did you receive an art education, or are you are self-taught or currently studying? Where are you from and where do you currently live and practice art?

In high school I studied painting at the Art Students League, although my family and neighbors taught me how to paint at a very early age. Currently I live in New York City, which is where I’m from. In 2017 I earned and MFA from Hunter College, and before that I went to Bard and studied painting.

What ideas are you currently exploring in your work?

Recently my paintings have physical surfaces that evoke an imagined world of people at work and partaking in leisure activities. They are occupied by ambiguous and at times absurd or banal tasks. The fabricated scenes and imagined figures merge to exist in tension with the texture and light of the painted field. I started the composition by painting abstractly: scraping, pouring, screen-printing, stenciling and sanding, working and reworking the surface of each work.

Which mediums do you use in your work, and what appeals to you about them?

Lately, I have been using a great variety of paint media in my paintings, almost as many as I can. The making of the surfaces is as important as the images that they produce. Each of the paint applications suggests a character as well as a sense of time: spray painting, screen-printing, pouring, sanding, stenciling, and glazing oil paint.

Tell us about some of the highlights of your artistic career, such as memorable shows/exhibitions where you have exhibited or publications and blogs where your work has been featured?

Recently I had a solo show in Manhattan, Daydream Workshop at Charles Moffett Gallery. The show was reviewed in Artforum International as a Critic’s Pick, and the show was listed as one of the top 5 (#3) shows to see in New York City by Timeout New York. Prior to that I showed internationally this year in two galleries that are very historically important to their geography: Galerie Moderne Silkeborg in Denmark, and Contra Gallery in Croatia. Both of those galleries have shown work that I am indebted to: COBRA, A.R.Penck, Immendorg etc. Additionally, I have been included in two museum shows and collections: the Marina Tsvetaeva Museum in Moscow, and the recently opened Ærø Kunsthal Museum of Modern Art in Denmark. I have shown in New York and internationally for many years.

What’s next for you? Feel free to share any of your future plans such as exhibitions, travels, residencies, collaborations or any other interesting information relating to your art career.

I’m traveling to Aalborg Denmark to participate in a group show, and I’m shipping work to Tampa Bay Florida for a group show. I’m beginning to do work for my next chapter.
Additionally, I’m a curating member of Underdonk gallery in Brooklyn, working on my first curatorial project. That curatorial project will start in March.

Are you inspired by the work of your peers or anyone else in particular?

Of course, I’m a ravenous consumer of the work of my friends and contemporaries: people I show with, people that show in New York. Recently I’ve been intrigued by the paintings of Markus Lüpertz, and thinking again about Mary Frank’s world. The logic of the late Malcolm Morley has been on my mind. Postwar Eastern European figurative painting is a source of inspiration as well. I try to see as much painting outside New York as possible. The internet helps.

Can you share any fun facts about you or something that you like to do apart from making art?

Growing up I focused mainly on music and performance, resulting in stints playing music in in a wide range of genres and setting. Punk Music, Jazz, Classical Music, Laptop Noise, you name it. I play around 5 instruments, and have performed in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall, to CBGB’s to somebody’s basement.
Additionally, I’m a fan of contemporary poetry, and often curate readings in conjunction with my art exhibitions.

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