DELIBERATELY DISGUISED - ZAK BLATT | NYCH Gallery
Exhibiting Dec 4 - Feb 7
Deliberately Disguised is a collection of paintings by pop artist Zak Blatt featuring three different series all focused on the art of costume. Each series has a different focus that illustrates reasons why we are drawn to others in costume, as well as why we choose to wear them ourselves. Each is a collaboration - from the costume designer to the actor who played the role, and finally to the painter.
Zak Blatt is an artist from San Francisco now living in Chicago. His inspiration as a young artist first came from graffiti. He was always drawn to the high contrast colors and exaggerated movement that hip hop influenced art had to offer. Later Zak would find himself more interested in the influences of Pop Art. While still holding onto his roots of graffiti, Zak now creates representational Pop Art using high contrast colors and positive subject matter. It is always Zak’s goal to allow the viewer to escape into an imaginative space and forget about anything that could be weighing down the mind.
The first series titled “Power Suited” featuring The Power Rangers shows costumes that were meant to inspire strength and the admiration of it. Through-out the history of The Power Rangers and other comic book based super-hero franchises, their costumes are always designed to convince the viewer of super-human strength. By showcasing the muscles of the highly in shape costume wearer, and building pieces of armor that appear to be aerodynamic, as well as an impressive display of color, the audience is easily convinced of heroism.
Next in the collection of art is a series titled: “Comedians In Costume”. With the recent outbreak of COVID-19, it seems that societal anxiety levels were and still are at an all time high. The motivation behind this series is deliberately meant to distract us from feelings of impending doom and remind the viewer of things from Pop Culture that make us laugh. Each character was chosen to display intentional absurdity! The criterion for selecting characters to be painted for this series was; that they be instantly recognizable - the more elaborate the costume the better. All reactions to art are valuable. We don’t always have to subscribe to the formal expectation that art is meant to be serious. It is Zak’s goal for the viewer to audibly laugh at first glance when viewing each piece in this series. Lets get loud people!
The third and final series of this collection titled “Costumes Surreal” consists of five paintings showcasing characters that originate from worlds that bend reality and allow us to experience the impossible. Combining Zak’s signature Pop Art style with the lawlessness of the word surreal, this series is meant to take the viewer on a joyride of imagination while once again referencing familiarity. It is a healthy practice for artists to push themselves out of their comfort zone and to create things they previously thought exceeded their ability. Laugh in the face of impossible as you conquer it!