September 25 - December 31, 2010
This fall, the Z’otz* Collective brings their visceral illustrations and fantastical chronicles to Durham. Together, Nahum Flores, Erik Jerezano and Ilyana Martinez are Z’otz*; a group of Toronto based artists who demonstrate the trajectory of the daily lives and inspirations of multicultural, new generation artists.
Z’otz* are united by their shared Latin American culture, quirky artistic styles and a common ethos of contemporary art. The scope of their work encompasses a myriad of media ranging from drawing and painting to collage, ceramics, installation and sculpture. Paper and walls are the dominant surfaces their pictorial projects emerge from. Their formal lineage can be traced to Surrealism, graffiti art and the rich artistic tradition of Latin American iconography. Some recurring themes and narrative streams focus on the immigrant experience: displacement, transition, transformation. Reshaping their individual visual destinies to a more communal end, their composite drawings, reminiscent of the Surrealistic “exquisite corpse” technique, are bizarre animistic hybrids. The underlying humor of their surrealistic tales is that of poets who look upon the world and notice strange analogies. With an impulse to anthropomorphize, the collective persona of Z’otz* creates webs of meaning which examine socio-cultural phenomena and values.
A large, site-specific drawing, spanning three walls of the Gallery’s main space, will be the center piece of the exhibition by Z’otz*. Fenestral Distractions will reveal the collaborative process in the fantastic story through sequential strokes of charcoal, pastel and pencil. To break the flat surface of the mural, Z’otz* will add another layer to the piece, by incorporating boxes (niches) of various sizes and shapes as “windows into other worlds.” A niche is commonly understood as a recess or shadow box, to contain elements within a larger configuration. These boxes will house small sculptures, poetically charged everyday objects and natural references. The edges of each niche serve as boundaries to separate one story from another, while strings that will run from one box to another unify the elements of the installation to create a broader story: that of a community that interconnects.
Communication and collaboration connects us to the world in which we live. Artistic collaboration articulates an aesthetic that values exchange and flow. The Z’otz* Collective has a sustained interest in creating art that stems from the interaction of the association and belongs equally to all its members. The audience is invited to take part in the collaborative process, filling the spaces with their own stories and interpretations.
Ilyana Martínez was born in Toronto to a Mexican father and Canadian mother, grew up in Pittsburgh and Mexico City and graduated from the Ontario College of Art & Design in 2002. Erik Jerezano was born in Mexico City. He is a self-taught artist who moved to Toronto in 2001. Nahúm Flores was born in Danlí, Honduras and immigrated to Canada at age 17, after living in Mexico and the US. He studied at the Ontario College of Art & Design. Z’otz* is the Mayan word for “bat”.