Artist Zach Horn utilizes a wide range of materials to playfully depict images of food in a celebration of everyday rituals, of families and human connection.
“In my family, we express everything through what we cook. We ascribe to the idea that for every human emotion, there is a meal. So, there’s food for loss (Edible Arrangements), and there’s food for birth (bagels with the works). I’m the chef, the short order cook, in our house and so part of the way that I express love is through food. Pancakes on Saturdays are statements. They are my way of saying “yes” “I love you” “I would do anything for you.” Spaghetti, besides being beautiful and fun to paint, and looking like the squiggly lines in a Pollock, and being a Rosenquist riff, is what my mother makes for me when she says “I love you.”
The food in this exhibition (unintentionally carb heavy) marks the tri-daily beats of prepping, setting, eating, and clearing. This is how routine becomes ritual. These dishes: cheerios, kraft single on toast, PBJ, are inadvertently simple. I merely thought of the food memories that are the most meaningful to me. For example, when I was little, my grandfather used to give me blind taste tests comparing yellow American cheese to white American cheese. Yellow v. white is unsurprisingly difficult to distinguish. Is it biological that what I consider comfort food is just carbs and fats? Or, is there something about the ubiquitous nature of the menu that makes it universally satisfying? I am not sure.
I had a blast making these paintings. This exhibition, in addition to paint and canvas, involves plaster, modeling paste, GAC 800, leveling gel, alkyd gel, wax medium, silicon, utensils, rope, steel brackets, bolts/nuts, sticks, air dry clay, LED lights, marble dust, two mugs and cocktail umbrellas. I use these materials to try to capture what it is about the food that made me want to portray it in the first place. And so, if a painting of spaghetti needs to be surrounded by a halo of forks so that it feels invitational, then so be it. And, I emphatically defend my studio as a place to play. I am not dogmatic about image/object relationship. I believe that my paintings can be anything; my job is to stay open enough to let each work come into its own.
Planning for this exhibition started before the pandemic, back when terms like social distancing were unimaginable. As a result, COOKOUT has inevitably morphed into something less nuclear and more aspirationally communal. After huddling in the house and stocking up on cans of black beans, it now feels like such a welcome relief to invite good people over to listen to the Dead and share a meal. At cookouts, I take pleasure in the little things, like the radial symmetry of sliced tomatoes or the way that the light catches the smoke rising from the BBQ. I hope that this exhibition gives you that experience of everyday-extraordinary grace.”
ABOUT THE ARTIST:
Zach received his BA from the University of Pennsylvania and his MFA from Boston University. He has exhibited in multiple museum exhibitions, such as the Museum of Work & Culture, the American Labor Museum, UMaine Museum of Art, the Commonwealth Museum, the Art Complex Museum, the Gibson House Museum, the Attleboro Arts Museum, the Alexandria Museum of Art, and the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art. He has shown with numerous galleries and academic institutions throughout the country (and in Ireland). His work is represented by Asterisk Projects, New York, NY, Appleton Art & Design, Westport, CT, in the Boston Drawing Project at Carroll & Sons Gallery, Boston, MA, and in the flat files at Lamontagne Gallery, Boston, MA. He is a contributing critic to Collect Magazine, Big, Red & Shiny, and Art Practical. He is the recipient of grants from the Blanche E. Colman Trust, the Puffin Foundation, the UMass Boston Labor Resource Center, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
Zach is a Lecturer at the University of Massachusetts Boston and at Boston University. He is a Lecturer at the University of Massachusetts Boston and at Boston University. Zach lives in Boston with his patient wife and three rambunctious sons.