Patrick Sarmiento’s new show of painting and collage at ZAK’S—Zak Kitnick’s gallery space in the Brooklyn Navy Yard—takes as its subject and inspiration the collapse and creation of social rituals in a pandemic year.
The paintings on view are simultaneously scattered and restrained, fitting for a time when screens largely replaced the touch and relations of fleshy, messy reality, reducing our sites of interaction while also inducing a sense of psychic unreality. Rendered in shades of black and grey-blue and set against grids which recall the ubiquitous Zoom screen, the edges of the paintings contain shapes which reach toward the center, echoing the silhouette of a skyline as one looks up at street level; land masses warped by map distortions; or even paint spilling at random.
The works are strung through with cartographic threads which recall the anxiety-inducing lines of graphs of infection and fatalities during the worst of COVID-19, as well as underlying grids in a complex series of layering and masking. In a black-and-white printed collage on an orange ground, grainy photographs of crowd scenes seem torn, then re-appended, via images of nail heads which also double as x’s, as if precariously pinning together a new social reality.
Patrick Sarmiento, Social Construct I, 2021. Collage on paper.