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Stephen Zaima Exhibition at the Palitz Gallery Features Work Spanning 30 Years
The Louise and Bernard Palitz Gallery at Syracuse University Lubin House presents “Stephen Zaima: Mysterious Bridge,” on view now. This exhibition highlights work from the past 30 years by the distinguished artist, who recently retired after nearly 40 years as a professor of art and associate dean at the College of Visual and Performing Arts.
Curated by Eric Gleason ’05, director of the Paul Kasmin Gallery, this show presents a selection of Zaima’s large-scale paintings as well as his more recent photographic works. Gleason, who earned a bachelor’s degree in art history, serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board for the College of Arts and Sciences.
The Palitz Gallery, located in Syracuse University’s Lubin House, is the Syracuse University Art Galleries’ visual arts venue in midtown Manhattan. Exhibition hours are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The exhibition runs through Aug. 15 and is closed University holidays and July 4.
A gallery reception, with the artist and curator in attendance, will be held on Tuesday, June 25, from 6 to 8 pm. The exhibition and related programs are free and open to the public. Contact 212.826.0320 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Stephen Zaima does not spoon-feed narratives, despite the emphatic nature of his iconography. Although the spare components that comprise many of the works may suggest an easy interpretation, baked into the works are numerous subtle, unexpected decisions made along the way—the profound use of negative space; the textural treatment of the underbrush; the object-ness of the work—and it is these decisions laid bare that allow for infinite pleasurable attempts at deconstructing the painting for any active viewer.
As seen in the works in this exhibition, Zaima’s symbols and iconography recur throughout his oeuvre at varying intervals and across several media. Immediate examples seen in “A Real Allegory” (1990), “Corona del Spina” (1997) and “Anvil” (1998), include the harpsichord, the airplane, the anvil, the dividing line, varying spiral forms and the crown of thorns. The relationships between these icons and the manner in which they are created involve no accidents. Personal and art historical anecdotes intertwine, previously visible imagery is obscured, and compositions oscillate between the Rorschachian and the linear.
In Zaima’s work he captivates, he challenges, he provokes contemplation, allowing the fortunately-engaged viewer to enjoy every attempt at deconstructing the works.