A Crowd of Small Metamorphoses:
New Work by Sara Zak at 464 Gallery
Opening December 27, 2013 for just one week…
Buffalo has been gifted with a chance to visit the grand paintings of German artist Anselm Kiefer at the Albright Knox. At a time when contemporary art is media-oriented and works on canvas have fallen out of favor, we are reminded that there is a reason that painting remains vital. At its best, the act of looking touches your nervous system—not your brain. Picasso claimed that “some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun.” Sara Zak captures this kind of aliveness that invites a long gaze.
………………………………………………..YELLOW AS MUD
While aligned with the tradition of painting that is hundreds of years old, her point-of-view is clearly of the 21st century. She recently posted online a quote by Alyssa Monks: “I chased realism until it began to unravel and deconstruct itself. I am exploring the possibility and potential where representation and abstraction meet—if both can co-exist in the same moment.” Zak’s new work is an investigation of this challenge.
Since completing a BFA degree at SUNY Buffalo, she is has been an active participant and leader in the local arts community as frequent contributor to group shows, an organizer of exhibitions and events, and a founding member of the Painting for Preservation group. Known for proficient works of post-industrial urban environments, her approach ranges from classical realism to pure abstraction.
Some artists prefer to remain within in the safety of a successful style–Zak is not afraid to experiment. Many of us peered through her interactive site-specific viewing station made from an assembly of coffee cans at ELAB’s City of Night in August. Last year, she created a remarkable replica of the famous Odalisque by 19th century painter, Ingres, in order to splash it with a wash of white paint for her piece in the annual Hallwalls Artists and Models show.
The work on view later this week has been inspired by “Nausea,” a book published in 1938 by the philosopher, Jean-Paul Sartre. The main character embodies the quest for truth and a feeling of angst that arises as he searches for meaning and discovers only the existential shape-shifting nature of human experience. A multitude of small changes within can lead us to a condition of internal revolution. Sara Zak is painting her way through this process. She is an emerging artist to watch.