Schema Projects

Andrew Zarou: Force Multiplier +

December 11 – January 17 , 2016
opening reception, Friday Dec 11th, 6-9pm
curated by Jeanne Heifetz

Press Release:

Schema Projects is pleased to announce “Force Multiplier +,” a solo show of notebook drawings by Andrew Zarou, curated by Jeanne Heifetz.

Andrew Zarou has long been known for his resourcefulness with materials. Two years ago, while recuperating from surgery, Zarou found himself on enforced bed rest – and profoundly bored. With no access to his usual media, he reached for the gridded notebook and gel pens he had bought months earlier -- almost on a dare -- precisely because they were so far from his preferred way of working. Initially these limited materials felt as confining as bed rest: nothing about the grid, or the palette, or the clear presence of the hand, or even the idea of working serially, fit into his current understanding of his work. (Some of the earliest notebook drawings, not shown here, reveal his intense frustration.) Zarou considered abandoning the methodical pattern-making the grid seemed to demand for something more immediate. But he had – quite literally -- nowhere else to go, so he persisted. And then, as often happens when artists pare down to a small set of variables, once he committed fully to these choices, Zarou emerged from what had felt like a narrow, claustrophobic passageway into an expansive realm of limitless possibility. No longer oppressive, the grid became open-ended and generative.

Indeed, what immediately strikes the viewer of the Force Multiplier series is its dazzling range. With the grid as his point of entry, Zarou sets himself a new challenge with each drawing, a new set of mathematical and visual rules to follow. Yet this underlying scaffolding is rarely visible in the completed drawing. The dominant characteristic of the series is surprise – for Zarou as much as for us. You can feel curiosity propelling him from drawing to drawing. A single algorithmic premise may suggest a half-dozen possible resolutions. Questions and experiments proliferate. The notebooks can barely contain their energy.

By the time Zarou recovered, the series had earned its place as a regular part of his practice. He titled it “Force Multiplier” in tribute to the completely unexpected power of the materials he’d nearly rejected. Zarou continues to carry the notebooks on his daily commutes, which would otherwise be lost time. Turning the NYC subways into his mobile studio, Zarou somehow manages to create a meditative zone of focus and concentration, enacting Saul Bellow’s definition of art as “the achievement of stillness in the midst of chaos.” But the drawings themselves are rarely still. Like other parts of Zarou’s practice, they evince what he describes as an “ongoing tug of war between chaotic uncertainty and the security of organization.” Anchored by the grid, metallic and fluorescent colors pulse and vibrate. As Zarou explores translational symmetry, repeated figures shift subtly, almost imperceptibly, from row to row. A second layer responds in counterpoint to the first. Multiple layers shift at different intervals; a musical complexity builds.

The Force Multiplier series reflects what Zarou calls “a balancing act between the physical manifestations of my core tendencies (repetition) and the spontaneous impulse for change (difference). Like the difference between climate and weather -- climate being the long-term trajectory of meteorological conditions, and weather the conditions of the immediate present -- repetition and difference live inside and move around each other in my work.” As though modeling his own internal weather in these drawings, Zarou is constantly testing the effects of the slightest shifts in initial conditions, with unpredictable and stunning results.

For more information contact: Jeanne Heifetz 718-757-8572.

92 St Nicholas Ave between Hart and Suydam Brooklyn NY 11237      © 2016 Schema Projects