On view as of March 2022 is Sean Landers’ Plankboy, a limited edition of twelve hand-painted bronze sculptures with four artist proofs made in conjunction with Case Studyo. The work will be on display in the private viewing room of the third floor of Petzel’s Upper East Side gallery, located at 35 E 67th street. The character “Plankboy” is an integral figment of Landers’ extensive oeuvre, having become a constant feature in both two- and three-dimensional works since its first inception over two decades ago. Landers initially created the figure in response to René Magritte’s “La Période Vache” of 1947-1948, but it has since come to represent a much more personal vessel for Landers’ to realize his characteristically self-referential style of expression.
For Landers, “Plankboy” is an alter-ego of sorts; a blank slate for him to explore everything from his fascination with pop culture and mythology to more introspective subject matter, which often includes the existential struggles and reflections that come with an artist’s lived experience. Both humorous and profound, “Plankboy” becomes an anchor for what much of Landers’ body of work is concerned with—finding ways for his art to bridge the gap between artist and viewer when it comes to shared ideals of identification, consciousness and humanity. This iteration of “Plankboy” has been hand-painted by the artist to produce somewhat of a trompe l’oeuil effect, masking the true bronze body that lies beneath the figure’s deceptively humble wooden grain surface and nut-and-bolt appendages.
The use of woodgrain to denote both texture and meaning is frequently employed by Landers in his practice, as is made evident with the below available works. Akin to the role that woodgrain plays in capturing the stripped-down essence of Plankboy, Landers uses the pattern to produce the literal illusion of a wooden surface, in the form of birch trees or signage, or in more unexpected ways, transforming the coat of a lion from soft to solid. This surrealist treatment can again be traced back to Landers’ fascination with the work of Magritte, an ode to how paint is a limitless vessel for creating a new and stimulating visual language.