Just how much Americana can you fit under one gallery roof? Quite a bloody lot, as it turns out. No one does patriotic self-reference quite like the Americans, and here at the Marais branch of Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, Tom Sachs has ensured no icon of USA culture has been left out in his exploration of the country he calls home – complete with all the contrariness of the American Dream.
American Handmade Paintings places equal emphasis on the American and the Handmade, and while the subjects of his wall works – McDonalds’ golden arches, the dollar bill – need little explanation, his techniques do. The series utilises two main production methods, pyrography and marquetry. The former, as students of Greek will have already worked out, uses heated metal elements to scorch marks onto wood. The latter is the layering of wood, which in furniture production involved intricate veneers but here is going for a more robust aesthetic with chunky panels instead of thin slivers. The works bear the scars of their creative processes, such as tool marks, as an integral part of their look. American Handmade Paintings finishes its run on 3 May.