Zoe Barcza

Born: Toronto, Canada (1984)

Lives and works: Stockholm, Sweden

 

Daddy Issue (2017)

Acrylic and vinyl paint on canvas

115 cm x 90 cm

 

Teets (2017)

Acrylic and vinyl paint on canvas

320 cm x 110 cm

 

Self-Portrait As Rotary Milking Parlor (2017)

Acrylic and vinyl paint on linen, and digital print

on polyester

110 cm x 320 cm

 

Zoe Barcza is an artist who paints with airbrushed acrylics and flat layers of vinyl paint, creating soft-edged and ghostly, figurative yet surreal renderings of bodies and text. Her work often features herself as the subject, pictured in relation to various elements of the environment to depict symbiosis and the connection between herself and the world. In these works, she opens up the body through various painterly gestures and inserts elements inside. In the work, Daddy Issue (2017), for instance, the artist cuts an image of her own head neatly between nose and mouth, and stacks the pieces at an angle which reveals a portrait of her father.

 

In Barcza’s Self-Portrait As Rotary Milking Parlor (2017), a new triptych commissioned by CHART, she depicts herself nude, reclined on her side facing the viewer in the outer panels. Her body and the flat, monochrome background are rendered in acidic contrasting colors, with deep-toned shadows contouring her muscles, flesh, and hair. The middle panel cuts her body in two, and replaces her midsection with an image of a factory dairy farm. The pipes from the sterile factory meet her body at the edge of the image and connect inside of it to dozens of dairy cows. Through this juxtaposition, she compares and contrasts the human body to that of another mammal, and draws an empathic relationship between the self and its environment. Barcza has referred to this line of inquiry in her work as “mimicking the aesthetic strategies of vegan propaganda.”

 

The new works Barcza presents in this exhibition relate her own subjectivity to people, animals, and objects that are external to her body but inextricable to the sense of self, including nourishment and preservation of the self as a part of a larger ecology. Family and our relationship to the environment and its food sources, for example, are elements of life that influence who we become and how we develop. Barcza uses painting to visualize and explicate these relationships in a way that departs, first and foremost, from critical self-reflection.

 

 

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