"Zach Harris is a master of tromp l’oeil and its opposite, for which there is no word that I’m aware of; that is, the ability to make a three-dimensional surface appear flat. This sleight of paint triggers our imagination to come on in because the coast looks clear. Not so fast! These charming, insouciant paintings will take you on a jostling psycho-visual escapade, from fractious Baroque quadratura to jolly Magrittean surrealism, while twisting through ribbons of Bridget Riley-ish warped space-time and stopping on the way to sample Dante’s circles of hell; puzzle over Zodiacal-Masonic arcana; witness astrophysical spectacle; be spied upon by mystical oculi; sample hallucinogenic mushrooms; lounge in Lynchian mise en scènes; and gaze at hypnotically curling Pacific Ocean waves by which time it’s too late to undo the realization that you have become unnervingly enmeshed in the spooky clusterfuck of the artist’s mind." -Lawrence Rinder
Spiral Bound, a solo exhibition by Los Angeles based-artist Zach Harris comprised of the artist’s iconic sculptural paintings and a wide ranging installation of 9 x 12” drawings. Entering the gallery viewers are met with an expansive wall of more than 70 drawings, a practice that is part of the artist’s daily ritual. The drawings taken from the artist’s notebooks cover an expansive swath of topics, from bitcoin letters to functional object design and artist palettes; a cross made from dice to flagpoles with space junk; AI vs. human intelligence, Ukraine, neural nets and a game of Twister with masks; covid, DNA double helix, a machine smelling a flower, biospheres and strawberries in the sky. Harris’ drawings beautifully unpack some of the magical and mystical imagery that are layered into the artist’s complex sculptural paintings, while providing a diaristic window into the inner workings of the artist’s mind.
Directly across from the drawings is one of the larger works within the show, an opulently psychedelic painting featuring a series of unique smaller paintings in bespoke sculptural frames all hovering over a vibrating wallpaper of wavy pink and turquoise stripes. Echoing the drawings which are hung in vertical rows of three, Harris’ “wall of paintings” within the larger composition are hung in a similar manner, with imagery and themes that resonate throughout the exhibition, whether it be a compendium of zodiac calendars, a painting palette adorned with a pipe emanating swirling smoke in the shape of a question mark, or the sculptural nature of each frame and how it interacts with the artpiece that it holds. On a thin wall adjacent from the drawings is a beautiful meditation on landscape, with a plein air painting painted in 2014 in the Catskills placed on top of a backdrop of a digitized grass pattern painted in contrasting deep reds and greens. Upon closer inspection, each painting within the show is in some negotiation of its own objecthood, whether it be multiple works that hold paintings hung on intricately patterned wallpaper, or others that show the illumination of a spotlight, or even a painting inlaid with a bubble level or another with an illusionistic bubble level painted in. Harris’ paintings and drawings together forge their own bold path, pushing against time, boundaries and easy categorization while encompassing vast universes of information; generative and generous in the time and care that Harris imbues within each work, instantly enveloping and transporting the viewer.