W Joseph Zack

Artist's statement from his fall 2000 show

The sculpture pieces presented in this exhibition are intended to offer reflections on human relations. I present the viewer with a visual question or situation and request the viewer to respond or react to the work based upon their personal values and experience. I believe the greatest gift that visual art can offer is a sense of connection, reflection , and perhaps, inspiration.

We are all aware of or preferences and values for art and images, some are comfortable, and some are provocative. I believe the greatest gift that visual art can offer the viewer is a sense of connection, self-awareness, and illumination to their values and those of others.

I am strongly attracted to the theatre and approach each piece as a stage upon which the content is presented. Some aspects of my visual imagery carry implied connotations which can serve to extend interpretation beyond the suggested or obvious; the figure as puppet or veiled architectural implications of shrine, window, or (as illustrated in my *Definition Series*) the guillotine. The idea of marionette, or puppet has more recently taken center-stage as a focal point of most of my pieces.
As symbols, these figures work well with the mechanical aspect of the work as well as true conveyors of the intent of each piece. The figures can be wildly expressive or passive and add to the humanistic themes.

My academic training is in architectural design, painting, and decorative arts history. Explorations into these disciplines has rendered a very machine-like quality to much of my work. At times this lends a visually interesting focus to my compositions, but I also see this as a distraction which requires tempering. Working with mixed-media allows more flexibility in the use of colour and texture which, I believe, softens the mechanical edge.

My greatest joy is in creating compositions which are technically and contextually balanced. Formally, most of this work focuses on surface materials and texture. I am drawn to the inherent qualities in wood, metal, and paint for their richness and colour. Applied surfaces tend to be created to appear naturally formed or accidental. Although I control the paint, colour, and texture the finish is not wholly *designed* or patterned. Color is often chosen for content (symbolic) and/or to balance aspects of the composition but not intended as a dynamic element in the work.