Zachary Lank paints a world of natural rhythms falling into discord; a leery danse-macabre traipsing across a Book of Hours. Patches of color flicker between anonymous figures - becoming leaf, limb, petal - before losing themselves again in the tapestry of images. Irony and black humor mingle with reverence of the Idyll. The toxic is entangled with the bucolic, and Lank’s human subjects have mistaken themselves for masters.
Labor and folly are at the heart of these works; the ambivalent protagonists battle with the landscape in a dance of misguided endeavor. Lank creates scenes that would resemble a Medieval tableau were it not for the vulcanized rubber and gas masks - the ominous paraphernalia of our times. These pseudo-historical tragicomedies from an imagined past speak to ecological disaster at this present turning point in human history.
Lank is looking to communicate a sense of wry urgency in these socio-ecological allegories. Created during the time of the pandemic and global instability, the work considers how a “New Doctrine” is being established; one that will determine how the world will evolve and how we can understand our place within it. He writes: “My work points to a fundamental mismatch in our nature as “beasts of the earth” and “Masters of Creation”. We are animals that forget we are animals. At this moment of inflection, the garden gate is closing: what are we to do? Burrow, till, slash, burn: are these the only evolutions made available to us?.”
Zachary Lank (b. 1989) received his BFA from Pratt Institute in 2012, and his MFA from the New York Academy of Art in 2018. He has exhibited across the country from Hawaii to New York, most recently at Youngblood X Space Gallery St Barth, NYC, Spring/Break, NYC and Colganhi, NYC. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.