Tri-Star Arts / 4450 Candora Ave. November 5, 2021 - December 11, 2021

Zahar Vaks

Tri-Star Arts announces a new exhibition in their Golden Chain Gallery project space located at the historic Candoro Marble Building. Emotional Architecture, composed of 5 new paintings by Zahar Vaks (Brooklyn, NY) opens on Friday, November 5, and will run through Saturday, December 11, 2021. This site-specific exhibition has been installed within the unusual architectural space of a steep wooden stairwell. A public reception will be held on Friday, November 5 from 5:00- 8:00 pm with the artist in attendance.

Zahar Vaks states, “My most recent works explore emotional architecture. The idea came to me as I meditated on the architecture I remember from my childhood growing up in Uzbekistan. The turquoise domes, walking through a bazaar with the scent of sumac in the samsa pastries infused with the varying structures of each stand. My 7-year-old body navigating the many structural forms - sometimes towers, other times tunnels. The way one touches, writes, draws, and applies paint bodies can physically trigger a material narrative. This is what I call alchemical empathy. The paintings are material narratives actualized by a multi-sensory approach to creating. Smell and touch are just as important as seeing the work. I pair traditional materials such as oil, tree sap balsams, and pigments with ingredients used in cooking, such as beet powder and turmeric. This is another form of material narrative that is a direct way to address the relationship between painting and cooking along with my cultural identity. I am a Russian and Ukrainian Jew that was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. This yields the potential for the viewer to empathize with me through the way they see, experience a sense of touch, and - if they get close enough - smell my painting.”

“Although my work is rooted in painting and drawing, it is influenced by other modes of thinking and making. This includes the playing of the violin, cooking, impromptu rhyming in English and Russian, the manipulation of recorded moving images and sounds, the movement of my body, and collaborating with other artists, musicians, and dancers. For example, playing the violin has a direct influence on my painting. The use of my gesture in painting is echoed in my use of vibrato, or the gusto of my sound. I am less fluent in my violin playing than I am in my painting just like I am less fluent in my use of the Russian language as opposed to English. However, I am interested in the dialogue between these ways of creating and their various levels of fluency. The painting may have multiple speeds. A quick bold gesture can dissolve into a slow and subtle remnant. Moments of specificity are enmeshed with ambiguity. The presence and absence of structure plays a significant role in the construction of the forms and at times the conjuring of imagery.”

Zahar Vaks (b.1983, Tashkent, Uzbekistan) is a visual artist based in Brooklyn, New York. He earned his BFA from the Tyler School of Art and his MFA from The Ohio State University. He has shown in New York, Philadelphia, Columbus, Las Vegas, Houston, Vienna, and on the island of Svalbard in Norway. In 2018, Zahar was invited to participate in the Rauschenberg Residency. He attended the Galveston Artist Residency from 2012-2013. Currently he is a Co-Director of Ortega y Gasset Projects (OyG), an artist-run curatorial collective and exhibition space in Gowanus, Brooklyn, and a Lecturer and Artist-in-Residence at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville during the 2021 fall semester.

This exhibition will be open to the public regularly from Tuesday through Saturday, 11:00 am until 5:00 pm, alongside iconic spaces within the Candoro Marble Building (located in the Vestal neighborhood of Knoxville). The use of masks and social distancing is encouraged.

Tri-Star Arts is based at the Candoro Marble Building with its main office, gallery space, and artist studios. Their gallery features exhibitions with a local, state-wide, and national focus on contemporary visual art.

Constructed in 1923, the Candoro Marble Building originally served as the offices and showroom for the Candoro Marble Company. It showcases a Charles Barber-designed Beaux-Arts architectural style, beautiful Tennessee pink marble, and an iconic tree-lined drive on its one-acre grounds. In early 2021, the Aslan Foundation completed a substantial restoration of the building. In partnership with the Aslan Foundation, Tri-Star Arts oversees programming at the site. It is located at 4450 Candora Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37920.

About Tri-Star Arts:

Tri-Star Arts serves Tennessee by cultivating and spotlighting the contemporary visual art scenes in each region while fostering a unified state-wide art scene. Tri-Star Arts programs promote art dialogue between the different cities in the state, and between the state and the nation.

Tri-Star Arts initiatives include a gallery space and artist studios at the historic Candoro Marble Building, Current Art Fund grants, state-wide exhibition projects, a speaker series, digital content, the forthcoming Tennessee Triennial, and the LocateArts.org web resource.