Artist: Jack Zajac
Birth: 1929, Youngstown, Ohio
Education: Scripps College, Claremont, 1949-53
Residence: Santa Cruz, California
Teaching: Pomona College; Dartmouth College; University of California-Santa Cruz
Major Awards: Extended stays in Rome between 1954 and 1960, due to several grants from the Simon Guggenheim foundation and the American Academy in Rome.
Gallery Affiliations: Began exhibiting with the Felix Landau Gallery in Los Angeles (1951-59) and has since then exhibited at many major galleries in Chicago, New York, London and Rome. Current representation is with Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco.
Museum Collections: Museum of Modern Art, New York; Hirschorn Museum, Wash. D.C.; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Nelson Gallery, Kansas City; Pasadena Art Museum; Santa Barbara Museum of Art.
Nunberg, Geoffrey. Jack Zajac; Falling Water: 1962-1987. Steven Wirtz Gallery, 1987
"What sets Zajac apart from the European sources he draws on is his insistence that the vital and physical are ineluctably conflicting forces, Which no power of culture can resolve. The Skull can only rupture; the goat has to thrash until the life goes out of him. That's why I am made uncomfortable by descriptions of the goat and the ram's skull series as 'baroque,' and by explicit comparisons between these works and Bernini's. Of course there are resemblance between the two, both in their extravagant uses of form and gesture, and in the fugitive, unphotographable contours of their works. Of whatever Zajac may have seen in Bernini, there is a profound philosophical difference. Bernini's tortuous robes and wings are part of an effort to reconcile the claims of vital and physical forces, to find the civilizing counterpoint that was the object of the two prototypical achievements of the baroque, the fugue and the fountain. He would have thought Zajac's goats awkward, even uncouth; and it would be hard to imagin him doing something so discordant as deliberately breaking off a horn or a wingtip."
"But Zajac is nobody's Roman. At his best--in the bound goats and ram's skull's series, and in the falling water pieces--he is one of James' American abroad, ready to learn from civilization but not about to submit to it. That is how he has been able to appropriate the European tradition to express a view of nature that is essentially antipathetical to the culture that produced it." (pp. 15-16)
Cummings, Paul. Dictionary of American Artists, Fifth Edition. St. Martin's Press, NY., 1988
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