KES ZAPKUS: Drawings And Works On Paper 1957 - 2017
MARCH 23 - MAY 6
OPENING RECEPTION: THURSDAY, MARCH 23, 6PM - 9PM
GALLERY HOURS: WED - SAT, 12PM - 6PM
Sla307 Art Space is pleased to present a comprehensive exhibit Kes Zapkus: Drawings And Works On Paper 1957 - 2017. Most of these works have never been shown before. In 2014 a large retrospective of Kes Zapkus paintings was held at the National Art Gallery in Vilnius, Lithuania. This collection of drawings from all time periods presents a parallel investigation in retrospective form of works on paper.
They fall into several sub-groups: Some are intensely worked as paintings on paper, others combine prints with paint and drawing, still others are improvisational limited to pencil, or watercolors, and sketches in pastels. They relate directly to envisioning a painting concept, yet, can be experimental pieces in themselves. Some are lyrical in feel while others are insistently structured or expressionist. The titles are significant as they lead to the content of the work. Often when they are titled “Study for…” they refer to a painting idea to be developed larger. But, all are engaged to affirm Zapkus’ particular vision and its derivations.
That vision is abstract, related to digital formulations, classical music composition and hybrid references to the history of Painting. In contrast to a “minimalist” striving, his work aligns with a maximalist content. The reappearance of a grid often refers to mapping ideas, calculations, city structures, or groupings in size and scale. The unit elements of the grid symbolically imply separate views or an abstract picture within the larger whole. They can also establish rhythms and spatial pulsation. The desire is for endless complexity, engaging simultaneity, multiplicity and cross-referencing within a continuum. That for him represents the sensibility of the world we are living in and philosophically considered, could be the strength of this pursuit.
Zapkus leaves depiction, illustration or narrative to the agility of the camera and basic design codifications of much “abstract” art to contemporary decoration. The informational fields which are abstractions from a thinking panorama, he expects can carry emotional, intellectual, and expressive coefficients as musical, or mathematical, or literary constructs do.
The work can also be inflected with social relevance, as Zapkus finds himself drawn to humanist issues and protests against injustice and destruction. His own war experience as a child makes him intensely drawn to ideas of the futility of war, resulting in drawings and paintings like Modern Warfare, Children of War, or Rivers of Rwanda. His impulse to reorder chaotic fields of devastation, as if to apprehend this predicament and somehow resolve it, comes from this experience.
This is why the work can relate to the viewer in the form of visual fugues, complexity of form, or symphonic extensions – and, as in music, expression can commence before your ears and or eyes as perception proceeds.