Sam Gibbons, an Ohio native currently based in Baltimore, paints vibrant cartoons that take strange, often dark turns. These works are often crafted on wood or MDF panels, with edges specifically cut for his creations. Gibbons was the cover artists for Hi-Fructose Vol. 9, and he is also part of the exhibit “Turn the Page: The First Ten Years of Hi-Fructose,” a collaboration between the magazine and Virginia MOCA. Here, his recent work shows the artist’s evolution in developing his engrossing, humorous displays.
Gibbons was recently involved with two exhibitions at Jonathan Levine Gallery. August 2016’s “Cluster: A Group Show of Groupings” featured a massive work from the artist that involved several individual components. Each of these parts, on MDF, is worthy of inspection. In the upcoming “The Shape of Things to Come,” the gallery’s annual winter invitational, Gibbons offers some of his latest, symmetrically minded work. This is the last group show for the space before it moves from New York City to Jersey City in February.
In a 2011 studio visit with Hi-Fructose, Gibbons elaborated on the darker aspects of his work: “When I first started working with cartoons I was interested in the idea of subverting their inherent innocence,” he said. “By incorporating them in scenes with overt themes of violence or sexuality this innocence becomes compromised. I think the juxtaposition of the two gives a feel of uneasiness to the work. The darker aspects undermine the colorful cartooniness.I think aspects of our culture as well as personal experience influence this darker side of the work”