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Zuzka Vaclavik / USA

Artist Statement

I create intimate worlds where culturally familiar tags of decay mix with a micro/macro flip-flop, tumbling from familiar references into strange passages of bio science fictions.
I’m compelled by images that expand, contract, and morph with lines that grow out of new visual phenomenon like Google Earth or microbiology-continuously in transition and play. Art Brut, Outsider Art and the Surrealists’ interest in the subconscious help inform my work.

A Topophilia of the Imagined

If floodwater adopted geometry, it might resemble the structures and networks found in Zuzka Vaclavik’s recent paintings. Viewing these large- and medium-scale works on paper is the pictoral equivalent of a precisely ordered deluge, composed of too many sources to name. To state that much is happening is a dramatic understatement, but in the interests of understatements, I should state that much is happening, dramatically. What follows is a wordy but incomplete catalogue of Vaclavik’s primary weapons of choice: an ordering and repurposing of cultural signifiers, an extended and open-ended worldwide visual tourism, an unflagging and merciless attention to detail, and a good amount of old-fashioned theft.

Throughout the course of the artist’s considerable world travels Vaclavik has amassed a reservoir of incongruous cultural impressions, each resonating with the artist for reasons even she has difficulty verbalizing. But rarely does Vaclavik leave the country (or, for that matter, the house) without a sketchbook and a wide variety of drawing materials. After filling dozens of pages with gel pen doodles, watercolors, plein air sketches and written descriptions of place, Vaclavik conceives a crystallographic pattern in which to interject these disparate elements. The results are consistently dizzying compositions that resist traditional categorization: part travel diary, part sensory collage, part drawing, part painting. Vaclavik’s practice draws upon a seemingly limitless supply of cultural data to record lived experience in all of its frantic, raucous minutia, leaving viewers in a state of visual flux and with a topophilia of the imagined.

The imagined is a troublesome phrase to describe the work, however, in that Vaclavik’s paintings never fail to draw their content from the emphatically real. This is the paradox inside each of Vaclavik’s pictures– that such dream-like “maps of the imaginary” could be culled from source material as humble as found pottery fragments from a beach in Naples, or anonymous flora from a Costa Rican jungle. In the hands of Vaclavik’s lively imagination, each and every lived moment is fair game.

Brian Hitselberger, artist/writer/USA