Artist Statement

by Micah Zavacky, November 4, 2017.     


       The questions of drawing have always fascinated and fueled me as a visual artist. Drawing is a way to search for visual relationships and the tool through which a mark is dispensed acts as a bridge where my thoughts, reactions, and whims can travel across to paper. These marks reflect hundreds of decisions and attempts at deciding how tall one tree is compared to another or how the color of grass changes with the sun, for example. Although the questions of drawing are straightforward and seemingly simple, the answers are dynamic and stimulating.                    

       Over time, decisions and questions accumulate until they form into an artwork, and ultimately multiple works of art emerge both independent and connected. This refers to gestalt at multiple levels—the assertion that a whole is more important than individual parts and parts can only be understood by forming a whole. Each work of art is a complete whole yet a part of a larger gestalt which I see as a self-portrait. Simple questions guide me while I work from direct observation, and I am interested in how perception and subjectivity influence my organization of shape, line, and color into a two-dimensional image. I keep walking, gathering and abandoning conjectures and conclusions in response to my present place.            

       As a drawer, painter, and printmaker, I am granted with multiple tools to create or exchange for another when I am confused or stuck. Often, I find my troubles in a painting can be clarified by making a print, and vice versa. Drawing, painting, and printmaking are parts that become more understandable when they exist together. As change provides clarity for me in my choice of media, I find similar benefits in my choice of the landscape as a subject.                                  

       While working en plein air, I have to be flexible, resourceful, quick, and responsive because the landscape is alive, moving, and unpredictable. Endless possibilities exist outdoors due to its never-ending complexity and forever-present variability: the light will stretch, plants will bend, the sky will move, and storms will come. Like the natural world, people are constantly changing and transforming. Thus, I see the landscape as a way to examine what it means to be a person—to be living, changing, moving, and permeable.                                     

       One of the most important constants in my studio practice is change, and I am interested in how this relates to life: what changes, how does a person or environment react to change, and what does a life look like after a myriad of decisions, experiences, and revisions? When my work begins to create its own wear and tear—or evidence of having lived—I think I have something. I cannot always identify what that something is or what evidence of having lived looks like, but in part that keeps me walking.  My studio practice is one of listening and feverously taking notes during an adventure to identify what in the outside world resonates with an internal rhythm.