Saturday, March 7, 2009

Southern California painter, Zach Hill

A quickly-rising newcomer on the abstract art scene in Southern California is 25 year old, Zach Hill, who hails from Santa Clarita.

Zach creates enthusiastic, energetic abstract paintings that are reminiscent of the vital postwar California abstract expressionists who were partly fueled by the California School of Fine Arts and the North Beach jazz and poetry scene. Zach’s s horizontally-themed, “Garden of Eden” lavishes the canvas with wet layers of blue, white,, and deep violet with touches of green and ochre to create an atmosphere as misty as a Santa Clarita morning.

Hill's atmospheric paint expressions lend themselves to a landscape feel repeated and stacked plains of color in active, dripping bands that recall natural forms and natural phenomena at its most intense and mysterious; ancient stalagmites, caverns, foliage, seen both in darkness and in light lend poetic richness and depth to his work. He takes influence from his surroundings and from a lifetime of carefully observing works by other artists. This, coupled with his penchant for writing poetry and music all help to create these lively, emotional canvases that are his visual statements about his interpretation of the world.

In Rainbows

Zach says, “
I started making visual art as another creative outlet, and emotional expression as I have been writing poetry and playing music for several years but felt like it was time to create visually what I have been expressing in other mediums and media's. I create visual art today because first and foremost, I simply love to, I cannot imagine doing anything else with my life at this point.”

While Zach’s paintings appear to be controlled, in one sense, they are, at the same time, rebellious, anarchic and highly idiosyncratic. The non-figurative paintings are largely concerned with juxtaposing different colors and surfaces in a variety of complex formations, usually in sweeping horizontal bands, sometimes using text to anchor the chaos.
Tomorrow is a Long Place

At times, Zach’s work suggests areas that were first explored by the Color Field expressionists similar to those of Adolph Gottlieb and Ad Reinhardtt whose paintings only verged on recognizable imagery. A good example is his painting entitled, “Here Comes the Sun”.

Here Comes the Sun

Zach’s paintings are fresh and alive and appear to encompass the Existentialist ideas that emphasized the importance of the act of creating rather than the finished object.

I believe we will be seeing more of Mr. Hill.

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Stacy Alexander