Zudeck at Gallery Henoch
2001, oil on linen 18 x 16 in.
Courtesy Henoch Gallery)
By RAYMOND J. STEINER
TWENTY-FIVE PAINTINGS, portraits and still lifes all oils
comprise this latest exhibition of Darryl Zudecks work at Chelseas
Gallery Henoch.* A cursory overview might prompt one to first pigeonhole
Zudecks work as "Magic Realism" but one would surely
miss the fact that there is more "magic" here than "realism."
To begin with no one actually "sees" either people or objects
as does Zudeck so we can quickly pass over any notion that he is
attempting anything that might be termed "realism" when it comes
to his work. People, objects, are here given an intensity of presence,
imbued with such a sense of "thereness," that they appear to
transcend our ordinary experience of phenomena. People and things stand
forth in a Zudeck painting as if larger than life almost as if
by the power of his brush they are given more than life, more
than existence. In this sense, his paintings work a kind of magic
on the viewer, allowing for a keener vision into matter than we ordinarily
have. A persons face in a Zudeck painting stands forth stolidly
in its everlasting immobility, looking perhaps like the person,
but presenting a hyper-reality that we seldom if ever can
know in reality. We see little of "character," can tell little
of what these people are like but we can have no doubt as to their
being. It is as if the painter distrusts his own visual memory
(weve all had the problem of reconstructing the face of a lost loved
one) and, in capturing their likenesses in portraiture, can "magically"
fix them forever in time and space. A similar legerdemain is practiced
on objects eggs, coffee containers, roller skates, marbles, radios,
cameras each thing portrayed seemingly given more "reality"
than they actually possess. All are familiar objects but have we
2002, oil on linen, 16 x 18 in
we do in a Zudeck painting? One suspects that there is more to Zudeck
than a desire to enchant us with his flawless brushwork and discerning
eye. His images hang in the mind long after they are seen. They nag at
us to look more closely at the world around us. How many day-to-day objects,
how many close friends, can we recall so vividly? For this viewer, there
is, then, a potent message to come away with: Existence, being, is precious
because it is ephemeral, because it can so easily be taken from
us. There is a sanctity in things whether they be human or not
and we ought not to not lose sight of that fact. Darryl Zudecks
magic is that he makes us see.
Zudeck: Recent Paintings" (Nov 19-Dec 7): Gallery Henoch, 555 West
25th St., NYC (917) 305-0003.
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