Through September 17, Garden of Ornament will adorn the Hudson River Museum with whimsical painted gardens, carefully inhabited by creatures that weave in and out of its floral arrangements. This solo exhibition will feature the large-scale paintings of Robert Zakanitch, one of the founders of the Pattern and Decoration (P&D) movement of the mid-20th century, which was inspired by patterns of home furnishings. The vibrant works-on-display highlight the artist’s stylistic expansion, from his work with abstract patternmaking to his focus on nature.
In the 1970s, Zakanitch began to experiment with pattern and ornamentation, which directly challenged dominant art movements of the time, including Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism. Zakanitch explained: “I started doing paintings that were influenced by the linoleum floors we had as kids—these big roses, mostly flowers, and all these curlicues. I wanted to go in just the opposite direction of ‘less is more.’”
Garden of Ornament will display Zakanitch’s recent monumental 8-foot gouache paintings. In these extravagant works, Zakanitch breaks the rhythm of floral patterns with delicate birds, butterflies and hummingbirds for the viewer to contemplate. In “Tureens,” his 2007 series of oil paintings, Zakanitch demonstrates his desire to convey compassion through the decoration of objects that are associated with the home. For more info, visit hrm.org.
A version of this article first appeared in the July/August 2017 issue of ArtsNews, ArtsWestchester’s monthly publication. ArtsNews is distributed throughout Westchester County. A digital copy is also available at artsw.org/artsnews.