CHASE YOUNG GALLERY
450 Harrison Ave, No. 57  Boston   MA   02118    617-859-7222
Michael Zigmond - Artist Statement

IMAGES | STATEMENT | RESUME

 

This show marks a shift in my work toward smaller, more intimate still lifes with an emphasis on fun. All the elements of my paintings of the previous twenty-five years are still here: light as a compositional tool, the use of found or commonplace objects and a striving for simplicity within a realistic framework. As I’ve grown older, though, I’ve been giving more and more thought to those initial creative urges we experience as children, impulses that seem so present and alive even in the most sophisticated works of art. We are never so in the moment as when we are children. We’re not weighed down with ponderous thoughts such as, “Should I have that new mole checked?” or “How on earth will I pay the mortgage?” It’s important to note that I’m not painting toys out of a sense of nostalgia or a longing to return to childhood; rather, it’s the act of play itself that I find so fascinating and relevant to creation. It has always been my aim to be as present and in the moment when an initial idea strikes and craft that into something the viewer will appreciate as much as I do. This show is a continuation of that process.

Another reason these works have been so much fun for me to make is they often employ a mash-up of high and low cultural elements, thus subverting a stuffy, old genre of Western art. Many art historians would agree that the still life reached its apex in the Northern Renaissance, but despite their technical brilliance, optical realism and occasional symbolism, the works were, in the end, a tool of a merchant class used merely to display their own new-found wealth. Using this humble genre to render everyday objects in an egalitarian light that shines on us all gives me a sense of satisfaction that I haven’t felt since…well, since I was a kid.

Michael Zigmond, 2014