Texas-born, New York–based artist Zane Lewis, whose drip-paintings have appeared on the hallowed walls of New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art and Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts, is back with a spectacular new body of work, tentatively titled Shatter Art. A virtuoso of craft, composition, and structure, Lewis’ ornamental paintings are the epitome of gorgeous and vicious complexity. Jagged shards of glass collected from the streets near his East Williamsburg studio come from burglarized cars and antiquated factories.
Lewis transforms his workspace into a laboratory, glass into paintings and sculptures and installations, and the effect is something mosaic-like—ironic, genuine, and even introspective. To examine his art is to peer into a multi-mirrored room: every vantage point engenders an unexpected epiphany. “My shard art is certainly more mature and directional in comparison to my old stuff,” says Lewis of his evolution. “I’m less concerned with the pop cultural and celebrity themes that I used to employ, and much more interested in exploring deeper topics of psychology and physics, while also pioneering inventive compositional techniques. I think I’m now finding my footing as an artist.”
Through this new series, Lewis focuses his gaze on what he calls the “aestheticization of violence and beauty.” Of his new chosen medium, he says, “Glass is a multi-coded metaphor for so many things: it represents transparency and safety, or, when broken, it can be ominous and violent. I like its duality and multiplicity, and I love how the shards interact with and reflect light. My finished compositions remind me of knives and flower petals, and that duality deeply inspires me.”