Saturday, June 23, 2018

I AMerican
Park Forrest, IL
June 15 - July 21st , 2018

“Gathering”, my ceramic installation is part of a group exhibition titled “I AMerican”, curated by Sergio Gomez, with an opening reception tomorrow, Saturday 23rd, 1-3 pm at the Tall Grass Arts Association gallery in Park Forest.
About this piece:

“Gathering” is a collection of over hundred small vessels, incised with spontaneous marks and abstract drawings. They were made as contemplative and intimate objects, to be held in the palm of a hand, and are deeply connected with my childhood. All of them were created after I moved to the United States.
The city where I was born, Vinkovci, in Croatia, is rich with archeological findings. It was inhabited since the Neolithic period. Many of the findings are ceramic vessels from the Vučedol culture, one that resided there from 3000-2200 BC. Some date from the times when the city was a Roman municipium (city) and the birthplace of two Roman Emperors, Valentinian I and Valens.
When I was little, down the street from our house an old potter had his shop, and his entire front yard was covered with masterful and simple vessels. I remember, as a child, often watching him work and procuring some clay to play with.
My everyday exposure to these various ceramic objects – the ones I saw in the local museum, as well as the ones from down the street, and even dug up in our own backyard, created in me an awareness of different cultures living there through centuries and even millennia, while all deeply connected with the soil.
Once I had moved to the United States, fifteen years ago, those childhood memories started becoming more vivid and a sense of broken connection with continuity and familiarity arose in me.
For me, the act of creating these small vessels, very primal and intimate, reflects an underlying search for reconstitution of what is familiar and comforting.

About this invitational exhibit, the curator, Sergio Gomez says:

"I AM American Exhibition is not a single perspective on immigration or ethnicity. Instead, using a variety of styles, visual forms, symbols and metaphors, each work provides a wide-angle view of the bi-cultural experience. Some of the artists are first, second or third generation immigrants. Others can trace their heritage back to the Native American Indians.  In that sense, this non-literal exhibition on the American experience provides the viewer with ample room for conversation and personal interpretation. Some works directly approach the theme of identity while others delve on other subjects related to the American experience. Ultimately, this exhibit explores the meaning of being “American”. "

Thursday, June 14, 2018


Julie Maren                         Ana Zanic
Patricia Finley                    Ellen Moershel
Brigan Gresh                      Mary Mackey
Brandon Reese

Exhibit Runs Through: July 7, 2018

My seven new works on panels are currently on view in Denver, in a seven-artist show titled" Mark Makers" at Walker Fine Art. I am glad the concept of mark making is highlighted here, as I have always felt my scribbling, doodling, caligraphic-like drawing, basically mark making, was always an integral part of my artistic practice.
There was a specific question about the act of mark making in my work in an interview I had with Kathryn Markel Fine Arts gallery a few years ago:

KMFA: Do you consider the ink marks you make to be a way to bring a sense of control and definition to the work? Or is it a continuation of the spontaneity and intuitive mark making? 

AZ: For me, the mark making is really the most intimate element of the work, and it is definitely a continuation of spontaneity. I feel like I am setting the stage with washes of watercolor, and then the mark making is what breathes life into a piece. The process of mark making is like writing a note; it is very immediate, and there is a sense of vulnerability to it. It almost feels like opening up my journal for the viewer to read.

And in an interview with the Gallery 19, this year, the question of marks in my work came up again.

Gallery 19: There are very controlled and tight little ink marks throughout your compositions. They almost serve as an opposing force to your airy layers of washes. When did you develop this language and what keeps you fascinated with it?

AZ: The language of those opposing forces, I think, is just a reflection of who I am as a person, really. I have a strong need for a sense of calm and thrive when I can be alone. I like solitude and peaceful environments. But I am also very easily excited, agitated, happy and/or sad, so there is a lot of dynamics going on inside of me, and that comes out through the mark making and the drawing. It’s almost like the fluidity and softness of the watercolor medium calms my mind, but then I also need to release these energetic marks in order to clear my mind from the hum and buzz of thoughts.

 (above) - from the Voyage series, four watercolors on panel, 12x12

 (above)- from the "Blush Nebula series, three watercolors on panel, 30"x30"

 (above) - my works together with the Brandon Reese's sculpture in the front
work by Julie Maren (left) and Brandon Reese (right)

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

March/April 2018

I wanted to post a bit more about the exhibit "No Barrier to Entry" at Gallery 19, where I recently had a chance to show many of my watercolors, in a tremendous company of these three international artists: Henrique de França, Alejandrina Herrera, Catherine O’Donnell.

Here are some of the photos from the opening night/artist talk:

Ana Zanic four watercolors from the Origin Aqueous series

Ana Zanic two watercolors from the Origin Cluster series

Ana Zanic, Impromptu series, three watercolors on panel 30"x30" each

Installation of ten watercolors by Ana Zanic

Artist Talk: Alejandrina Herrera, Ana Zanic, Henrique de França, Dietrich Klevorn (left to right)

       Ana Zanic: Origin scroll, 95"x55", watercolor on paper

                                                   with Vida Sacic

                                                               Zanic with the Origin scroll, 95"x55"

                                          Ana Zanic

No Barrier to Entry opens our borders to artists from Brazil, Mexico, Croatia, and Australia for an engaging multi-lateral conversation. This exhibition is an opportunity to consider the universality of art through the vernacular of pencil and paper. Before Damien Hirst taxidermied sharks, before Jean Claude and Christo wrapped Chicago’s MCA, before Jackson Pollock dripped paint, even before Marcel Duchamp’s readymade urinal, there was pencil and paper for the creation of artistic ideas. Historically, drawing served as the foundation upon which other skills were built. Drawing was the initial render, a casting off, a preparatory study, leading to a masterwork in a more highly regarded medium. Contrary to some opinion, this does not marginalize drawing, this elevates it. Without that two-dimensional proposition of visual thought, the transition to something more fully conceived might never happen. To express ideas-humble and complex-through line, shading, proportion, and placement, is to master the consummate universal language. Unlike a readymade urinal, the works on paper of the four artists presented here require no esoteric lecture or didactic to understand it. Put simply, this exhibition reaffirms the ability of works on paper to awe and inspire.

                              Henrique de Franca

Henrique de França’s figure drawings exploit the blankness of the paper through minimal insinuation of line and shadow. His willingness to abandon figures to the emptiness of the page is audacious and compelling. De Franca artificially defines the limits of urban and rural as the limits of civilization in order to create his dramatic compositions in which something appears to have just happened or is about to. “Even when nothing seems to happen, there is a sense of pensiveness, as if the characters are in the grip of internal reflections about life, memory, hope, and change. My work is about creating stories that people can relate to from a personal and nostalgic point of view. The drawings also address the confrontation between generations, traditions, and classes, as a means of reflecting upon the construction of a society, all from a Latin American perspective.” De França likes to think of his work as “metaphorical social commentary.” Henrique de França has a BFA from Universidade Sao Judas Tadeu and Postgraduate work in Graphic Design from Fundacao Armando Alvares Penteado. He has had work included in international publications from the US to China, and his work is quickly making its way into sophisticated private international collections. Da Franca is currently living and working in São Paulo, Brazil.

                                Alejandrina Herrera

Alejandrina Herrera creates and recreates the curious and the banal with a hyper-realism that defies pencil and paper. Herrera offers her work as a counterpoise to the rapidly changing digital world in which we live. “By using pencil drawing, nostalgia and broad white spaces in my work, I invite the spectator to slow down, observe and contemplate themselves and the beauty in life. With our minds also working in a digital way, I tend to go back to an “analogue” form using non-digital techniques such as pencil drawing, which is a meticulous and slow-paced process.” Herrera creates scenarios questioning how life and social relationships have changed over time. She incorporates the notion of memory by using old photographs as source material for her work. “The process of creating memories is usually quick, imprecise and abstract. By drawing in miniature, I also try to maximize details to recover an experience that we may have thought was forgotten.” Herrera’s exacting diminutives create an intimacy with the viewer akin to the narrative beauty of Albrecht Durer’s Renaissance prints, or the illuminations found in a medieval book of hours. Alejandrina Herrera earned her BFA from Universidad de Monterrey and attended drawing and sculpture workshops with artists Ramiro Martinez Plasencia and Miriam Medrez. Her work has been shown at the Dallas Art Fair, and has also been published in local (La Peste, México) and international magazines (INDIGO, Colombia, Rare Magazine, Australia). She was born and raised in Monterrey Nuevo León, where she currently lives.

                               Catherine O'Donnell

Catherine O’Donnell walks us through an Australian suburb of the public housing via mechanically precise graphite images. “I see the suburbs as full of connection and disconnection, sameness and difference. In short, my drawings examine suburban living as a site of complexity. I am particularly interested in the way that the vernacular architecture and general streetscapes of the places we regularly inhabit become recessed into our minds like wallpaper. My drawings whilst uninhabited, still capture traces of human intervention with narrative elements embedded in the commonplace structures: an open window, a door ajar. While my drawings are clearly representational, the realism in my work is not merely a reproduction of the visible. It is the elevation of the abstract form, the underpinning geometry and the distillation of the spatial composition that interests me. To this end, I extract the building from its surroundings, deleting extraneous information, in order to emphasize the simplified form and obtain the final image. I use representation as a catalyst to revisit these spaces imaginatively, and find the aesthetic poetry embedded within the suburban landscape, while, at the same time, disrupting cultural prejudices which prevent people from seeing the underlying elegance of these simple buildings.” Catherine O’Donnell has an MFA in Drawing from the National Art School Sydney and a BFA from the University of Western Sydney. Her exhibitions and residencies have taken her across Australia, Paris, Rome, Venice, and London. Exhibition highlights include Close to Home: Dobell Australia Drawing Biennale, a solo exhibition at Sydney Contemporary, and many others. She has won numerous awards and commendations, and her work is held in numerous public and private collections, locally and internationally. (Currently represented by Mayspace Sydney, Australia.)

                                    Ana Zanic
Ana Zanic departs from black and white representation with watercolor and pigment on paper, creating abstractions which offer just enough information to initiate a narrative in the viewer’s mind. Her paintings appear, at first, to occupy the entirety of some unknown land, but, then, they beckon you closer, until you are focused on the miniature societies occupying and traversing them. It is this seduction into other worlds that empowers the work. No Barrier to Entry juxtaposes pencil drawings with Zanic’s watercolors because, within the ebb and flow of subdued color, Zanic tells us stories using calligraphic figures every inch as precise as a drawing, while conveying the same artistic intentionality. “For me, making art has always been a search that allowed me to explore the formal, visual elements, as well as my personal feelings, through an intuitive, spontaneous process. Through abstract form, I often investigate questions of memories, past, and origin. My abstract paintings are executed in a combined media of watercolor and ink. They are built with layers of washes, intermixed with dynamic lines, scribbles, and marks of ink drawing, with an emphasis on the mark making. The spontaneous and gestural activity of mark making in these pieces is closely tied to calligraphy, language, and symbolic communication.” Zanic describes her painting as “…both controlled and accidental.” Ana Zanic resides outside of Chicago but is originally from Croatia. She is classically trained, with a Master of Fine Arts and Art Education, from the Academy of Fine Arts, University of Zagreb (Croatia). Zanic’s work is shown in galleries throughout the US; she has a prolific exhibition record. Her work can be found in many exclusive public and private collections.

                                          Gallery Owner Dietrich Klevorn with Ana Zanic pieces