November 3, 2014
Zahar Vaks exhibits "The Knotted" 11/22

Time Out New York writes: Pseudo Empire is proud to present THE KNOTTED guest curated by Bull & Ram curatorial collective, Yevgenia Baras and Eve Lateiner. THE KNOTTED unites the work of two artists from vastly different backgrounds into an intimate dialogue of material, color, and forms. Zahar Vaks, a Brooklyn-based painter, and Nancy Azara, a sculptor who has worked in New York since the 1970s,. The artists share a process of addition and reduction, affinity for materiality and natural processes itself while maintaining a bold will to break with conventions and challenge expectations around their own process. 

Azara, known for her hand-carved wall sculptures broke with modern conventions of sculpture in her emphasis on natural matter and for the importance of color, namely paint in her work. Carved from found tree branches, bark sections and discarded construction projects, Azara transforms the material while celebrating its natural essence. Her carvings, simple patterns, form and shapes in bas relief, transform the wooden with an anthropomorphic character. As an active feminist (Azara has published writings on her experience as female artist in addition to a book about her practice), Azara draws upon the strength from spiritual archetypes existing in nature and across cultures. 

Where Azara’s work starts with finding an unusual or precise section of wood or bark, Vaks’ paintings are the products of his attempt to loosen his process from the origin point of the smooth stretched canvas. His series of “loose paintings” begin on the floor, where Vaks begins to construct his composition of “material narrative.” Painted on linoleum, fabric, cardboard and paper, the work is then affixed to a canvas, which often forms a de-facto frame. Within the work, object appear and fall away, Vaks toys with the elements of straight -edged architecture, but never fully commits to their existence--their forms contrast with the diffusion of the works‘s edges as the mounts do note extend to all side of the canvas. He seeks to create an environment of ambiguity, where potential for multiple meanings and ideas can co-exist, slowly revealing themselves through careful looking.

Zahar Vaks was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. He moved to the United States after the dissolution of the U.S.S.R. He received his BFA from Tyler School of Art and his MFA from The Ohio State University. He has shown in Philadelphia, New York, Columbus Vienna Austria, Galveston Texas, and Hammond Indiana. He was invited to do the Galveston Artist Residency for the year of 2012-2013. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn NY, where he has a studio with the Chashama Studio Residency and is an active member of Ortega Y Gasset Projects.

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