TOTEMS & CANTOS
March 19 to April 24, 2016
Ampersand is pleased to present TOTEMS & CANTOS, Scott Zieher’s second solo exhibition at the gallery. Comprised of works made over the past five years, the show offers a visual record of finding and collecting printed material in bulk on the streets of New York. We are a culture that forgets and destroys imagery as quickly as it is made, allowing Zieher to research, isolate and construct visual ideas that seem familiar but are stylistically unique. His TOTEMS retain the gloss of the 3000 or so Life Magazines from which they were cut, but while they reference the ideals of a past generation, they also build a new story that is not entirely of this world. Similarly, the CANTO collages were mined from a library of architecture magazines from the late 1960s and early 70s. As Zieher notes, “They contained a whole new visual vocabulary, always full of very bland and institutional color that started to deepen in richness the more I dug.” The graphic content of these shapes, devoid of narrative, are arranged on thick card stock, faded and mottled, foxed and spotted, much loved and heavily handled. Discarded by The New York School of Fine and Applied Art (Parsons), these substrates were themselves a container for research and record keeping, a photo library with images poorly pasted and randomly notated. Citing a deep fascination with Scarlatti’s 555 Sonatas for keyboard and Ezra Pound’s epic incomplete poem, Zieher envisioned the entire stack of Parsons card stock as the starting point for a single, serial work, each canto serving to contain the shapes and textures of a history erratically maintained.
The release of TWO POEMS coincides with the exhibition. This is the second collection of Zieher's poetry published by Ampersand Editions and features FERRY QUEENS and MAKE IT OLD, numbers 4 and 5 of 13 book-length poems.
Scott Zieher was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin in 1965 and received his MFA in poetry from Columbia University’s School of the Arts in 1996. His first exhibition at the gallery, What to Want, was accompanied by a collection of poetry and collages under the same title, available here. His poetry has been published in The Iowa Review and The Believer and his art has been featured in Manor House Quarterly and The Pornographers, a novel by Christopher Grimes (Jaded Ibis, 2012). He was a founding member of Emergency Press and is the author of articles on contemporary art for numerous international publications, including the book Band of Bikers (powerHouse, 2010), a collection of found photography from the early 1970s. He lives and works in New York City.
Collage on found paper
14 x 11 in.
© 2016 Scott Zieher and Ampersand. All Rights Reserved.