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Mike Cloud and Sam Jablon at the Landing


February 6, 2021 - March 16, 2021

In a new two-person exhibition at the Landing Gallery in West Adams, work by artists Mike Cloud and Sam Jablon explore exciting material innovations while also musing on the turmoil of the last year’s events. Jablon incorporates pertinent text into each of his paintings, playing with overlapping or inverted letters to slow down readability. “Endlessness” features backward yellow text painted on a rich blue background, spelling out “Endless Endlessness.” Several letters towards the end of the phrase seem to evaporate into yellow mist. Is it a call to the sheer ongoingness of the pandemic, or perhaps a nod to certain air-born particles? Other works like “Don’t Panic” and “Linger Longer” feel almost like notes-to-self, or repressed desires after a year-long quarantine.

Cloud’s paintings can hardly be categorized as such — each is a layered sculptural construction that uses stretcher bars as the dimensional framing devices, used to build stacked visual planes of painted color and form. The dense and thickly applied maximalist color and a general slap-dashery of the works — exposed stapes, roughly cut edges, bits of paint globbed on the edge of each, as if the artist casually used his own painting as a palette — belie the intrinsic careful composure of each work. In each, a URL, often painted in a long swirling spiral, is included on the painting, providing layers of literal embedded context. The websites that each work points to range drastically in content, tone, and banality. Some casually discuss adopting a puppy, potty-training tips, or how to make a grocery list, while others delve into violent beheadings, mass extinctions, or celebrity deaths. This shocking onslaught of disparate information — paired with Cloud’s cacophonous aesthetic— mirrors the way we absorb media in our modern day, where a playful cat video might preclude violent images of insurrection on one’s Instagram feed.

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Photo: Mike Cloud, “Beheading Portrait Samuel Paty,” 2020. Image courtesy of the artists and the Landing. Photo: Charles White / JWPictures.com.