2nd Year Reviews: Zach Coneybeer by Keith Richner

When I look at one of Zach Coneybeer’s paintings, I am struck first and foremost by the romantic nature in which paint is applied to the canvas. The paint, being as apparent as it is, makes me consider the entire process of creating a painting. The artist’s studio, the smell of oils, the love, the pain and dedication it takes to complete a large scale painting flood my mind. This is in part due to the history contained within the painting itself that connects me to the moment of its inception. I find myself navigating the edges of richly contrasted pigments like a maze or a pathway. Through this process I believe it is possible to become one with the painting, much like the painter themselves in the early stages of the creation of a work.   In a way these paintings then function as a road map into an emotional and physical state. As there are many roads that lead to Rome, so are there many pathways for entrance into Zach’s work. Layers are visible. Edits are often visible and incorporated into the composition, sometimes resulting in large areas of the canvas being blacked out with only a faint glimpse into what came before. It is left up to the viewer to recall their own experiences that they too would like to edit out of existence, or in contrast hold on to in vivid remembrance. After manipulation of the paint it is indeed impossible to pick out the first and last marks, but I’d bet Zach remembers in detail. They key, I believe, to enjoying the enrichment that comes from observing and being enveloped by formal abstract painting is not to find a reason, but to discover something new about yourself in the process of deciphering the marks. Wrangling the manipulation of the paint into a idea for yourself is a purely personal experience that may or may not be shared with others, and that appears to be the intent of the work rather than a explicitly defined stance. Zach’s writings, which play an important role in my strategy to approaching his work, are filled with emotions ranging from frustration to a serene perspective on life. Much like his work.


To learn more about Zach’s work and his process please visit http://zachconeybeer.tumblr.com/

As part of the second-year graduates’ Thesis Projects I course, candidates were each assigned two of their cohort to review. As students begin writing their thesis papers and constructing artist statements, this review process proves to be beneficial twofold. Students not only exercise their written critique skills, but are able to read about their own project from other voices. Over the next few weeks we’ll be posting these reviews, so be sure to visit regularly for insights and photos of the second years’ progress!

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