april 29 - may 7
To Die For
Public Address is pleased to exhibit To Die For, a painting installation and PA-TV performance by Zach Seeger on view from April 29 through May 7, 2017. The opening reception and performance will be held on Saturday, April 29, 6-9PM. The performance can also be watched live on PA-TV (on the Public Address website) starting at 7:30PM (EST).
by Joshua Rivkin
A man offers to trade his guitar for a city bus.
My pick for your passengers. Six strings for sixteen wheels.
A bride on her wedding day exchanges her love
for bright weather, a groom exchanges his hands for hers.
A father offers to trade his family for a hotel’s worth of sleep.
A sailor offers the Pacific for a hotel’s worth of sex.
Tonight, the shirt from my back, my singing mouth,
my endless praise, for your skin or company.
I’ll give you my stethoscope for a red barn: a doctor.
I’ll give you my right arm for your left: his patient.
It’s the inequality of pain a sleepless woman wants
to give away. Here, take mine, she offers to freight trains
whistling their replies through Houston’s poorest wards:
Jealousy gets you jealousy. Rage gets you rage.
"What wouldn’t you offer?" a man asks the pawn shop window.
"What wouldn’t you take?" replies the glass.
The gallery walls support Seeger’s unstretched paintings. Suspended from the them—the canvases are hung as if they are tapestries—they begin to build a contained environment housing rich painterly mark-making. In some paintings, figures are enmeshed into colorful patterns, where body and ground become inexorably one. In others, the worked and tactile surfaces point to an awkward, and at times grotesque, expression. However that may be, with moments of raw or stained canvas peeking through heavier strokes, a sense of comfortable vulnerability between the two gestures emerges. The artist describes the paintings as decidedly contrarian—they “poke fun” by emulating stylistic marks and tropes he observes in other work. Although the wit within these comedic provocations appear brash, the density of the images requires a prolonged viewership. As a result, their experience not only reveals the gradual unfolding of the artist’s autobiographical narratives, but they also produce a sense of implicit autonomy as if the artist has created containers for his memories.
When composing the images, Seeger seeks a particular geography that defines the painting, where each formal element requires its particular placement. This can be compared to the charting of a topographical landscape or following the logic of a biological system, but differs in its mapping of memory. In the paintings, it becomes apparent that recollection undermines the present. By contrast, Seeger’s performance forces the act of recalling to activate the present through words, sounds and step. Seeger aims to fold his performative narratives back into the environment as the three performers traverse the gallery and move as if they are navigating his constructed space.
Zach Seeger is a painter, writer and curator who lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He grew up in Endwell, NY and spent his summers in the Adirondack Mountains. When not helping his dad build things, he caught salamanders in the back yard and snuck upstairs late at night to watch Ted Koppel on Nightline. Seeger holds an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (Providence, RI) and BFA from Binghamton University (Binghamton, NY). Recent solo exhibitions include, Watson at Karstan and Gorse (Wappingers Falls, NY), November, Defend Brooklyn (New York, NY) and Cheese Burghers of Calais curated by Nicholas Cueva, Zrobili (Brooklyn, NY). He has participated in the GROUNDWORK III Residency and Vermont Studio Center. Since 2013, Seeger has co-directed and curated exhibitions for This Friday or Next Friday (Brooklyn, NY).
Special thanks to Stacy Collado, Marine Cornuet, Brian Morris, Andrew M. Stevens, and Joe Bochynski.