Tamar Zinn

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Artist’s Statement


As a visual artist, I am driven by curiosity about what is possible, rather than seeking certainty. By working intuitively and without a preconceived endpoint, I let the work lead the way. The thread that runs through my paintings and drawings is the embrace of the transitory nature of our experiences. While recent paintings have centered on shifting atmospheric sensations, my drawings are a visual manifestation of breath and gesture.

In my search for quiet in an increasingly tumultuous world, several years ago I began a daily practice of sitting in stillness, open to whatever came into view from behind closed eyes. In two recent painting series, Behind Closed Eyes and Where I Find Myself, I’ve gravitated towards the ineffable sensations I experience during this daily period of reflective solitude. Particles of light slowly rearrange themselves across the field, colors shimmer and recede, and there is a never-ending flow between stillness and drama. Having shifted from painting singular images to multi-panel installations, the paintings increasingly reflect the belief that nothing is fixed, and that our perceptions are comprised of a multiplicity of moments.

Since I am seduced by light but also drawn to aspects of formalism, finding a balance between the two keeps the work in a state of tension until each element seems to find its place. The formal structure of the multi-panel paintings allows me to place unique sensory experiences side by side and present them as one. And ultimately, it is the imposition of this structure that gives me the freedom to fix in place that which is impermanent.

In my drawings, my embrace of both transitory and formal concerns is revealed through the interaction between gesture and the field. Attention to the unique nature of the field for each series of drawings grounds me in formal structure. Making the field is a slow and methodical process in which multiple layers of pigmented charcoal are gently rubbed into the surface of the paper. It is only once the field is established that I turn my attention to drawing the lines, an act that is filled with risk and where I feel most exposed.

For me, to draw is to breathe and to breathe is to experience a fullness of self. In this way, my drawings are rooted in the time of their making. Recent drawing series have reflected a dance between line and space — each helps to define the other. Each gesture is a choreography of movements, and once made, the marks may be altered but all that was there remains. While the gestures may be evocative of many things, my drawings depict nothing in particular.

Tamar Zinn is a visual artist whose work balances light-infused romanticism and reductive structure. Both painting and drawing are integral to her studio practice and distinct in both intention and process. Recent exhibits of Zinn’s work include Where I find myself, a 2021 solo exhibit of paintings at Markel Fine Arts, NYC, and Liminal Space, a 4-person show at Bryant Street Gallery, Palo Alto, in 2020 where Zinn exhibited a selection of drawings. Zinn has curated several group exhibitions and periodically blogs about contemporary art. Her work is included in corporate and private collections throughout the United States.

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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis (susanlewis.net) is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit (positjournal.com) and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.