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Zane Lewis was born in San Antonio Texas in 1981. He studied Fine Arts at SVA in New York City and had his first major European solo exhibition, “Altered States” at Galerie Eric Hussenot in Paris and his “first major U.S. solo exhibition,” at The Hole NYC last year. In the past few years his works have been seen at Art Brussels, NADA NYC and (OFF)icielle in Paris.
The Wall Street Journal included Lewis in an article along with Ryan Trecartin, Jordan Wolfson & Rosson Crow in a selection of ten-top-emerging American artists. The Whitney Museum exhibited his work at their ArtParty Auction as a “Groundbreaker” artist in the Whitney Museum’s groundbreaking ceremony for the new location in lower Manhattan. His works are also featured in the Aïshti Foundation collection, a new museum in Beirut, Lebanon.
Zane’s paintings are ethereal spaces that shift perspective as you walk toward and around them. Up close the size and spacing of the spray-paint application is incredibly controlled, while the overall effect creates ‘a sense of danger and mystery referencing everything from pointillism and phenomenology to California’s Light and Space movement. If anything, they’re reaching toward that mission statement laid out by Rothko, who once said, ‘I’m not an abstract artist, I’m not interested in the relationship of color or form or anything else. I’m interested only in expressing basic human emotions.’ (Wallpaper, / Art , 22 October 2015 by Michael Slenske)
‘I paint in a very direct way almost like a boxing match, there’s no other distractions in the room, the entire space is a big spray booth, and it’s this battle (or dance) between me and the canvas,’ says Lewis, who says he gets physically exhausted by the process which results capture the feeling of Rothko’s color fields, James Turrell’s Skyspaces and Dan Flavin’s neon installations filtered through the tip of a spray paint can. ‘I’m trying to make the purest work I can so it has to come completely from the edge, I’m just a vessel or conduit producing that energy.’
Zane often refers to his smaller canvases as ‘mementos’ or sometimes ‘drawings-in-paint’ however, they are not intended as sketches for the larger works. More so, they are the opposite of that concept because they are made while Zane is executing his larger works. They are a memento of an intense particular studio session where Zane’s focus was mostly elsewhere. It is here that the small pieces gain their integrity – this looseness and raw quality connected to a moment significant but not precious. Boxed, they are like vinyl records one can flip through, pull out look at and cram back into the group. They are team players, they rely on each other as puzzle-pieces of a bigger concept – grouped together they form a sort of larger painting allowing the viewer the potential to take on a participator role in the arrangement and overall display.