Exhibition Overview

For 50 years Robert Zakanitch has explored color, line, and form with acrylic, watercolor, and gouache in artworks that are as ravishing as they are witty. Though his imagery varies—from abstract decoration to birds, angels, even author Jane Austen—Zakanitch has turned, again and again, to the shape and color of flowers to project these painterly motivations. In the mid-1970s, he became one of the founders of the Pattern and Decoration movement, a form of art inspired by graceful patterns of home furnishings traditionally associated with femininity. Rather than “art for art’s sake” that guided many artists from the late 19th century through 1960s Minimalism, Zakanitch embraced pattern for pattern’s sake while never losing sight of the fact that he was creating a painterly work of art.

Garden of Ornament focuses on Zakanitch’s shift from strict patterning to looking to the real world for inspiration, as witnessed in his monumental 1980s Platter series: “I started doing paintings that were influenced by the linoleum floors we had as kids—these big roses, and mostly flowers, and all these curlicues. I wanted to go in just the opposite direction of ‘less is more.’” Other paintings reveal his desire to convey the qualities of nurturing and civility through the decoration of objects associated with the home.

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Selected Objects in the Exhibition
 

Chicken Iris

A Garden of Ordinary Miracles series. 96 x 72 inches, overall
Courtesy of the artist

Date:2008 Medium: Gouache on paper diptych

Iris

A Garden of Ordinary Miracles series. 96 x 72 inches, overall
Courtesy of the artist

Date: 2008 Medium: Gouache on paper diptych

In Quest of the Holy Snail

A Garden of Ordinary Miracles series. 96 x 72 inches, overall
Courtesy of the artist

Date: 2010 Medium: Gouache on paper diptych
 

White Rabbit

Tureen series. 68 x 48 inches Courtesy of the artist

Date: 2007 Medium: Acrylic and gold leaf on canvas

Sappho Soup

Tureen series. 48 x 69 inches.
Private collection

Date: 2006 Medium: Acrylic and gold leaf on canvas

Ms. Austen Regrets

Tureen series. 68 x 48 inches
Courtesy of the artist

Date:2007 Medium: Acrylic on canvas

Angel of Non-Competition

Platter series. 96 x 114 inches
Courtesy of the artist

Date:1989 Medium: Acrylic on canvas

Angel of Positive Rage

Platter series, 144 x 192 inches Courtesy of the artist

Date:1986-87 Medium: Acrylic on canvas

Cat

Lace series. 88 x 102 inches
Courtesy of the artist

Date: 2002 Medium: Acrylic on canvas

Rococo Revisited

Garden of Ordinary Miracles series. 96 x 72 inches, overall Courtesy of the artist

Date: 2008 Medium: Gouache on paper diptych

Soaring Gardens Crow (Yellow)

Silhouette series
34 x 68 inches
Courtesy of the artist

Date: 2001 Medium: Watercolor on paper

Soaring Gardens Crow (Green)

Silhouette series
34 x 68 inches
Courtesy of the artist

Date:2001 Medium: Watercolor on paper

Fireglow

Hanging Gardens series
96 x 60 inches
Courtesy of the artist and Nancy Hoffman Gallery

Date:2011-2012 Medium: Gouache and colored pencil on paper

Talisman

Hanging Gardens series
96 x 60 inches
Courtesy of the artist and Nancy Hoffman Gallery

Date: 2011/2012 Medium: Gouache and colored pencil on Paper

Blush

Hanging Gardens series
96 x 60 inches
Courtesy of the artist and Nancy Hoffman Gallery

Date: 2011/2012 Medium: Gouache and colored pencil on Paper