Selected by Simone DiLaura

JIM GAYLORD, Seer Sucker, 2018


Our featured work this week is a unique and colorful gouache on cut layers of watercolor paper by contemporary artist Jim GaylordSeer Sucker. In this work, a field of raised blue and white pin stripes serves as the foundation, calling to mind the similarly patterned fabric that rose to popularity in the U.S. after WWI. Originally produced in India, seersucker cloth's etymology derives from the Persian "šīr-o-šakar," meaning "milk and sugar," because its smooth and rough stripes resembled the smoothness of milk and graininess of sugar. The name was anglicized to "seersucker" after being imported to England in the 1600s.

To further recontextualize this translation, the artist interprets the word "seer" to mean "one who sees". Abstracted depictions of ocular anatomy hang almost comically from the top of the image, and Gaylord's unexpected use of color—bright orange (eye) balls and ivory white musculature—disrupt the possible reading of the forms, perhaps evoking instead twin suns or inverted hot air balloons suspended above ocean waves.


Gaylord's work explores polar forms that appear simultaneously—structures that are both architectural and bodily, organic and man-made. Using heavy watercolor paper in his cut-out pieces allows the artist to realize abstract shapes in a three-dimensional, low-relief space. His compositions are assembled with a precision that gives them a sense of logic, but the uncanny results ultimately remain idiosyncratic and mysterious.


The aesthetics found in biology and nature shape much of Gaylord’s imagery. “I’m interested in eccentricity within order, like the peculiar anatomies within our bodies that, however strange, ultimately serve some purpose.” Allusions to figuration emerge alongside references to architecture and iconography, such as the ocular musculature depicted in Seer Sucker. Holding the potential for multiple interpretations, Gaylord’s work offers a sense of openness to the viewer, evoking personal associations without being demanding. It is at once generous and insistent.


Jim Gaylords work has been exhibited at a number of national and international galleries and venues, including the Brooklyn Academy of Music. His work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, the West Collection and the Progressive Corporation. Gaylord received his MFA from the University of California at Berkeley and has been awarded residencies at MacDowell and Yaddo. He has also received grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Joan Mitchell Foundation and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation.


This work along with Jim Gaylord's piece Tenterhooks, will be featured alongside a curated selection of new contemporary art in Waterhouse & Dodd's upcoming Spring Contemporary gallery exhibition.


To see more work by Jim Gaylord, please visit his Artist page HERE.


JIM GAYLORD (American b. 1974)

Seer Sucker, 2018
Gouache on cut-out and scored 300 lb watercolor paper
30 x 23 1/2 in / 76.2 x 59.7 cm
Framed: $5,100
May 24, 2021