• Burning Man: The work of Michael Zanksy

    Date posted: December 2, 2013 Author: mauri
    Michael Zanksy, Flatland 5, 2013. Blowtorch on paper, 52 x 72 in. Image courtesy of the artist.
    Michael Zanksy, Flatland 5, 2013. Blowtorch on paper, 52 x 72 in. Image courtesy of the artist.

    Who needs Banksy when you have Zansky as a natural resource?  His fire drawings now on view at Stefen Stux are a remarkable mix of skill and innovation. These large scale line drawings have the look of faded sepia sketches of Da Vinci or badly faded enlarged photocopies of twentieth century cave paintings. Upon closer examination, there is no evidence of the media used. It’s a mysterious schematic as if otherworldly. They are the “Flatland Paintings.”

    These works have the flair of neoclassical narrative as if illustrating an adolescent nightmare fro a Grimm’s Tale.  But here, technique triumphs over content when one learns that these unbroken subtle lines are drawn with a fine point flame thrower.

    This arcane tool, impossibly dangerous, a 3000-degree pinpoint etching pen, in the hand of Zansky, becomes a something more like a crow quill. He defies the law of averages executing long sinuous lines without breaking stride.  The Oxygen and Propane torch can burn through iron but is used here on paper.  He is a magician with an inspired motif, one that is rendered with surgical precision Unscorched, these characterizations morph into abstraction as textural subtleties begin to overwhelm fine line. Steady Hands, Michael Zansky, he could have been a pyromaniac from the Bronx. But, his is an extraordinary feat, pyrotechnics that breath new life into old forms.

    By Tony Zaza

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