A gray patina has seemingly settled over several of the nine new paintings by Samuel Hindolo on view in this exhibition. This film, rendered through color and texture, ages the works, dating them to a time that is at once unrecognizable and specific, much like the venue: a former wellness spa in Galerie Porte Louise, a semi-abandoned upscale shopping mall a stone’s throw from Gladstone, the gallery that, along with 15 Orient, organized this show.
The exhibition title, “parfum” (perfume), conjures the luxury goods on offer in the mall, where business never quite picked up. Despite this lack of commerce, the arcades remain strangely vibrant. Hindolo’s paintings have a similar quality; They feel full of life, even as their subject matter flirts with failure and ruin. (A recurring motif is the undressed mannequin commonly found in shuttered storefronts.) Within the canvases, humanoid figures—perhaps mannequins themselves—move, pose, and even make love, albeit in their own signature way, that of automata thrown into the world.
A Blemish or a Portrait of Kim and Yet to be titled, both 2022, are the most indebted to classic Surrealist painting. More precisely, they recall atmospheric collages of variegated elements à la De Chirico. However, Hindolo has left art-historical references behind, steering away from the oneiric ambience typical of metaphysical painting. Instead, the artist pierces through the haze of his surfaces with carefully crafted references and details, just as the accentuated creases on the canvases’ surfaces break with the slick illusions offered by the glamour shots lining the neighboring store windows.