Artist's notes
Kes Zapkus
Aspects of Content and Context

    I would prefer for my work to be seen first in accord with my intentions for it. Then after, if the viewer wishes to move to diverse paths of interpretation, it is the viewer's subsequent right. I feel my specific vision is the prime factor for whatever expressive possibility my work can carry and that should be its first viewing lens. Conceptually, the work aims towards a progressive 20th - 21st century evolution of the Art of Painting disregarding current and populist trends. I reject imagism (abstract or figurative) and build parallels to musical composition seeking direct experiential access through structures. The work should fill the gaze of the viewer for an extended period of time, to go through a consideration process similar to the organization the work had undergone. There is no pictorial memory to take away from these articulated fields of sensations, other than its aura.

    This is my idea of what modern painting should be. I believe I am not making objects, pictures, or societal symbols. This is a departure from a previous traditional painting aspiration, where image, narrative, design, or process can be codified as the form. I have sought to build my painting on a different premise: using numerous episodic, associative, and articulated elements in non-linear interaction. I try to conjure the complexities of contemporary life experience. It's a maximalist attitude addressing simultaneity in non-hierarchical, cross referential signage to be seen as semiotic fields. This has been a constant inspiration for my work since 1959 and has remained abstract except for a four-year period when anti-war zealotry made me introduce a cacophony of imagistic details to deliver the issues. I see pictorialism as the bankrupt aspect of the art of painting. The overwhelming presence of mechanical pictorialization: photography, film, television, and computer make handmade "pictures" inconsequential. Actually, what differentiates works of art is not the imagery which is common to all works, but the specific usage of visual form: color, space, texture, movement and their associative handling

    My painting aims are inclusive and deal with experiential variables. The titles of my paintings usually lead to the content which can be structural, social, evocative of phenomena or of art issues. Each painting is conceived as a unique project with a particular presence and personality. They change in a several year cyclical evolution: seemingly between the polarities of structural-classicizing and painterly-expressionist, though they remain as a contiguous thread. I compose specific content in a highly detailed and full visual language for an expressive potential without imagery. I strive to reestablish the Art of Painting at its human root, as a testimonial to the emotions, hand, materiality, content, present tense, and considered thought.
© 2023 Kes Zapkus