Saturdays and Sundays between 12
and 6 pm or by appointment
“Sam Roeck, Sam Roeck.” is an exhibition of works by Sam Roeck, of Sam Roeck. Two bodies of self-portraits separated by two decades capture a sixteen-year-old boy and a thirty-six-year-old man, a high-school student and a working artist.
The twelve black-and-white photographs by teenage Sam Roeck depict a young man yearning to be seen. Despite the privacy of these images—discovered recently as negatives and only now printed for the first time—adult Sam Roeck describes them as “thirsty.” They also reflect the limitations of the childhood home–cum-studio, as the backdrop shifts from bedroom to bathroom (with a covert glance into “Dad’s closet”).
A series of eighteen graphite works by adult Sam Roeck is more introspective, focusing on the process of drawing rather than on photo-like representation. In these portraits of the artist as a grown-ass man, face and figure morph as he confidently experiments with chiaroscuro and contour, crosshatch and frottage. Yet Sam Roeck always remains recognizable, thanks to a distinctive pair of specs and the thatch of his mustache.
Also in the exhibition space are two sculptures of staircases, based on an architectural feature of the Chicago home where his parents still live. One emerges from the floor and stops, while the other begins a few feet above and halts at the ceiling. Together, they gesture toward the twenty-year lacuna between the two monochrome series, as well as to whatever comes next.
This is Sam Roeck’s second exhibition at OCDChinatown. His work has previously been shown at JDJ | The Ice House, White Columns, 356 Mission, MoMA PS1, Worcester Art Museum, Guggenheim Museum, FLAG Art Foundation, Baby COMPANY, Josée Bienvenu Gallery, Elizabeth Dee Gallery, and Situations. He received a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and an MFA from Hunter College. He lives and works in New York.