Each of the paintings on view explore confrontations with the past as a means to interpret the ever-changing present. Bruder captures images on canvas which seem to float in the collective unconscious. Visually and compositionally harmonious, his paintings conflate divergent pictorial influences from advertisements, caricatures, cartoons, art history, and photos from his extensive
Bruder has long used characters from mythology in both literal or figurative ways. Many of the objects depicted in his paintings are proxies for these characters, evoking primordial existences or inhabiting dream-like afterlives. Bruder cites Prometheus, who is credited with the creation of humanity from clay and is known for his intelligence and as a champion of humankind, in reference to his painting Insignia, while Epiphany portrays a harvest from the netherworld. In The Lesson and Made Ready Bruder depicts hellish and heavenly versions of a bunker as a modern medieval castle, with shredded papers standing in for the active destruction of knowledge and science in our current moment.
Bruder questions what makes a transaction fair, and whether the idea of fairness is possible in our contemporary climate. Clear Arrears is an accounting term meaning to settle a recurring debt. After a debt is settled, one feels free of burden and can move on. The artist similarly paints subjects that may need ciphering, ‘clearing arrears’ within works, liberating the paintings from their original referents, and allowing new meaning to develop. As narratives and images inevitably take on a life of their own, Bruder ponders which historical and contemporary myths will be transmitted as time and culture progress.
Zach Bruder (b. 1984, Cleveland, OH) received his BFA at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Madison, WI. Bruder presented his first solo show at Magenta Plains in January 2018 in New York, NY. Other solo exhibitions have also been held at Harlan Levey, Brussels, BE; galerie l’inlassable, Paris, FR; Gregory Lind Gallery, San Francisco, CA; and LaMaMa Galleria, New York, NY. Bruder has been included in group shows at Ratio 3, San Francisco, CA; The Journal Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Philip Slein Gallery, St. Louis, MO; and in 'Downtown Painting' curated by Alex Katz at Peter Freeman, New York, NY. Public Art Fund recently commissioned Zach Bruder to participate in its current project, Art on the Grid, a series of images by artists on view at bus shelters and LinkNYC kiosks through September 20, 2020. The artist lives and works in New York, NY.