William Zdan “Humors” at La Luz de Jesus, part of a four-person show:
Chris B. Murray, Joel Nakamura, William Zdan, Jasmine Worth
June 6 – 29, 2014
Artist Reception: Friday, June 6th; 8-11 PM
La Luz de Jesus Gallery
4633 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027
William Zdan “Humors”
My most recent series “Humors” examines the longstanding connections between medicine, secular art and social defiance. In my mind, artists have always been at the front line of cultural development with the currency being the message. Artists have been utilized as the barkers of agendas to either stagnant social development and impose control…or launch revolutions in in thought. My series focuses on paying homage to the latter. Heavily influenced by traditional religious paintings, “Humors” re-imagines a history of cultural development involving a secular worship of humanism, medicine and science. I believe we’re circling back to a time when science, art and human development are at odds with cultural hangovers and governing bodies. I’ve chosen to portray the Humors as a nod to the fearless artists, alchemists and physicians who (despite now absurd approaches), sought to provide an earthy explanation for the human condition. The Humors (the preponderance of body fluids, respective organs, earth elements and corresponding human temperaments) are found in each of my paintings, along with bloodletting tools, leeches and other (now debunked and marginalized) medical conventions like phrenology. The Humors being:
Blood (liver and heart) = Sanguine Temperament = Air
Yellow Bile (gall bladder) = Choleric Temperament = Fire
Black Bile (spleen) = Melancholic Temperament = Earth
Phlegm (lungs and brain) = Phlegmatic Temperament = Water
In the spirit of Albrecht Durer, I’ve woven the themes of ancient medicine into the content of this series. However, my images are meant to be unfettered by a governing paradigm. Whereas Durer was obliged to incorporate Catholic tribute along with the introduction of Humors in his series, my current paintings offer only the honoring of the human advancement (though still hinting at the naiveté that was the product of cultural stifling). My images are anatomically incorrect, flawed and marred by a hidden oppressor.
While still aiming to capture a sense of visual spirituality, the paintings in this series employ some of trademark compositional elements used in religious paintings. Depictions of hovering, saintly human organs and tools of early medicine are transposed over an otherwise supernatural devotion. The panels upon which I’ve applied layers of oil stain have been distressed with loose and primal gesture indicating age and nature. This is balanced against the tightly rendered paint application. The composition, like the theme, is in conflict. My hopes are that the viewer will become an unapologetic scientist of whatever they interpret from my work. – William Zdan
William Zdan is an American artist living and working in Los Angeles. Zdan’s work seeks to capture beauty while provoking contemplation. His paintings motivate introspection, fan philosophical bonfires, and comfort aesthetic sickness. Raised in the manufacturing community of Detroit, Zdan often depicts modern industry and its effect on contemporary culture. Stylistically, he clashes those themes against classical techniques and introduces historical and religious iconography.
More images forthcoming.