Bill Jensen’s Paintings / Amir Zaki’s Seeking clarityThe two solo shows, Bill Jensen and Amir Zaki, will be on view from January 10th till February 7th, 2015 at Acme Gallery
Bill Jensen (American, b.1945) is a notable painter born in Minneapolis, MN. He is renowned for his take on Abstract and Expressionist styles of work. Jensen’s work is known for its use of shapes and imagery in large spaces on the canvas. Many consider the artist’s pieces to be eerie and dark. His influences come from other artists such as Arthur Dove (American, 1880–1946) and Albert Pinkham Ryder (American, 1847–1917). “What abstract art can do is put people in touch with areas of their psyche they’re not normally aware of. […] This other world is where prejudice and wars do not exist. The I, the Me, the you, do not exist there. If you can bring people in touch with that for just a second, then you have a different way of looking at the world.” (cit. Martin Chris. “Bill Jensen with Chris Martin.” The Brooklyn Rail. 2 February 2007. Retrieved 26 February 2014).
Amir Zaki is a practicing artist living in Southern California. Zaki has an ongoing interest in the rhetoric of authenticity, as it is associated with photography as an indexical media. Simultaneously, he is deeply invested in exploring digital technology’s transformative potential to disrupt that assumed authenticity. While this may initially sound like a standard and tired postmodern trope, his interest is not in utilizing digital trickery as illustration to undermine a photograph’s veracity. In fact, Zaki often creates hybridized photographs that carefully use the vocabulary of the documentary style so that the viewer’s belief in its veracity remains intact, at least initially. He construct scenes that are somewhat off-register, ‘out of key’, and ever so slightly faux. He often uses the architectural landscape of Southern California as a subject, as it seems particularly appropriate to his process. This is largely because, either through media myth, reality or a combination of the two, the architecture and surrounding landscape in Southern California is itself an evolving bastardization of styles and forms, in other words a pastiche. Southern California is home to a collision of high modernist ideals, suburban McMansions, high-rise density, endless asphalt grids, deserts, mountains, beaches, Los Angeles urbanism, Inland Empire sprawl, Orange Curtain conservatism, the Crystal Cathedral, and the Integratron. It should be made clear that although Zaki is fascinated and inspired by this architectural and cultural entropy, his intention is not to record, replicate or simply document a preexisting postmodern pastiche. More precisely, his work begins with the familiar, by looking at objects, structures and locations that are often pedestrian and banal. And by capitalizing on the presumed veracity that photographs continue to command, along with the transformative, yet invisible digital alterations he employs, his images depict structures that aspire to be added to the list of the hodge-podge built landscape that creates the Southern California mythology.