Twelve Animals presents a new series of large-scale encaustic paintings of animals by Dayton, Ohio based artist Zachary Armstrong
In the series, Armstrong emphasizes the universal, iconic quality of animals as well as their individual personalities and idiosyncrasies. Sometimes picturesque like a postcard or iconic like an advertisement, at other times the paintings self-consciously contend with the weight of symbolic representation. The method of layering encaustics and adjoining canvases together for extra fields of depth allows Armstrong to build up a textured surface where figures seem to float free from other elements of the paintings.
Armstrong started work on Twelve Animals during the first Covid-19 lockdowns in America, attempting to experiment freely in his studio during a time of unprecedented limitations and restrictions. After years producing paintings, sculptures, and installations that vary in visual language but often riff on childhood memories, appropriated images, Americana, and reimagined compositions, Armstrong’s exploration of animal figuration relates to his previous work but is also somewhat unexpected in its singular focus. The group of paintings is the largest the artist has created to date and explores scale, nostalgia, and animal portraiture through the depictions of twelve different animal characters.
Merging imagery across high and low culture as well as time and place, Armstrong’s Twelve Animals are both playful and weighty. The animal portraits look at us as we look at them, expanding how visual cultures can be reworked to form an encompassing experience with emotional fluctuations. Together, they offer new perspectives on iconic animal forms while paying homage to the meanings that have accumulated over centuries.
Chung + Gupta + Hatoum + Neshat
Works from Faurschou Collection