January 22, 2020

Works of Zahar Vaks At The Gallery at MCCC

“SEARCHING FOR THE CULTURAL PLUMB BOB”:  An exhibit of works by Uzbekistan native Zahar Vaks will be on view at The Gallery at Mercer County Community College (MCCC) January 27 through March 5. An artist reception, open to the community, is February 5 from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

A multi-sensory trifecta of olfactory, tactile, and visual awaits visitors at The Gallery at Mercer County Community College (MCCC) for its latest exhibition, “Searching for the Cultural Plumb Bob,” featuring the works of Uzbekistan native Zahar Vaks, on view January 27 through March 5.

The public is invited to “A Conversation with Artist Zahar Vaks,” on Wednesday, February 5 from noon until 1:30 p.m. in the Communications Building, Room CM107 on MCCC’s West Windsor Campus. A community reception with the artist will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on February 5 in The MCCC Gallery.

Vaks is a visual artist based in Brooklyn, N.Y. Born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Vaks’ paintings, drawings, and structures are material narratives actualized by a multi-sensory approach. The olfactory and tactile elements of his work are just as important as the visual. His works address the perception of time through the marinating of oil, tree sap balsams, and pigments with ingredients used in cooking, such as turmeric. Vaks applies his ingredients to various surfaces such as linen, canvas, silk screens, vinyl, drywall, and iPhones.

“Zahar Vaks explores a conversation between the ancient and the contemporary,” said Alice K. Thompson, director at The MCCC Gallery. “Vaks’ paintings depict spaces — whether scenes from memory or the sensory recalls of a corporeal experience. The passage of time in a painting can be specific or elusive or even completely timeless. A quick, bold gesture can dissolve into a slow and subtle remnant.”

The surfaces of Vaks’ pieces are remarkably varied. Paintings are stretched or left loose with surfaces fused. A piece of organza painted with fabric dye may be layered over velvet. The fusion of these layers creates a new kind of skin that is not easily identifiable and allows for more possibilities.

Vaks earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Tyler School of Art, and a Master of Fine Arts from Ohio State University. His work has been exhibited in New York, Philadelphia, Columbus, Las Vegas, Houston, Vienna, and on the island of Svalbard in Norway. This past summer he was invited to participate in the Rauschenberg Residency. He attended the Galveston Artist Residency from 2012-13. Currently he is a member of the Ortega y Gasset Projects, an artist-run curatorial collective and exhibition space in Gowanus, Brooklyn. 

The MCCC Gallery is located on the second floor of the Communications Building on the college’s West Windsor Campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays. For more information, visit www.mccc.edu/gallery.