"Zansky, whose Giants and Dwarfs is a perverse update of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling, inviting ironical comparison with it, all the more so because it is as overwhelming and intimidating, and Michelangelo’s Last Judgment turns the Chapel into a kind of theater in the round like Zansky’s Giants and Dwarfs--for Zansky the ceiling is a religious “comic strip of fifteenth and sixteenth century thought” about “how the universe is created,” which he replaces with a scientific comic strip of nineteenth and twentieth thought about how the universe is created—is as great a master of the devilishly grotesque as Michelangelo was of the divinely graceful." -Donald Kuspit


"I am arguing that Zansky ambitiously engages the great tradition—indeed, that his art belongs to the great tradition—using and ingeniously fusing the variety of modern and traditional, abstract and representational modes of artistic expression—the tondos are an eloquent example—to restore what Baudelaire called its "majesty," confirming to for Zansky the all too human is more important than narcissistically pure art." -Donald Kuspit


"One cannot help thinking of Munch's early woodcuts and Van Gogh's late paintings, both of which have a similar hallucinatory character, the grainy wood and grainy painterliness conveying the excited emotions that animate the images, so that they seem uncannily absurd yet oddly descriptive. Giants and Dwarfs, also expressively distorted nd insidiously empirical, is Zansky's signature piece, as Munch's The Scream, 1893, is his and Van Gogh's Self-Portrait, 1888 his. All three works convey the artist's experience of himself—his contradictory sense of himself—which is why outwardly they appear strange, suggesting they felt strange to themselves, all the more so in Giants and Dwarfs, where the figures, most absurdly inchoate, some clearly animals, seem to symbolize a self that is a mystery to itself. Like Munch and Van Gogh, Zanskyand he is clearly their peer—seems to feel like a "stranger on the earth," the title of Albert E. Lubin's masterful psychological biography of Van Gogh, that is, a social outsider." -Donald Kuspit


"His is an enigmatic universe: inscrutable, claustrophobic, and expressed with a hallucinatory clarity. Fragmentary doll-like figures populate landscapes scattered with mysterious debris and dulled by the deleterious effects of time. Rich colors and sharp contrasts of light and shadow lend an aura of Baroque grandeur to these foreboding yet somehow poignant scenes. Replete with visual and conceptual nonsequiturs, Zansky’s lushly painted worlds are labyrinths of mysterious signifiers in which the clearest elements are often the most puzzling. In one canvas, a toy figurine of Cerberus, the three-headed dog that in Greek mythology guards the entrance to Hades, stands triumphantly atop the deteriorated wreckage of a large boat, while a doll’s head and other crypticobjects are strewn on the ground below. The entire scene, set beneath a threatening sky, hums with presentiment." -Max Weintraub

“Rarely has the human comedy, suspended in the gap between the tree of knowledge and the tree of life, been rendered as such a horrifying void. Zansky seems to say, with Nietzsche, ‘the wasteland grows.’” -Jay Murphy


“Zansky sees the uncertainty of it all as an element of humor, like a dog chasing its tail. In a sense, it is like the experience of Renaissance perspective when it was new, and the human came up against the cognitive uncertainty of experiencing space in a new way.” -Thomas McEvilley


"There is a modesty to this work in its refusal to contextualize human activity as outside of or above nature. Zansky's own activity in routing and shellacking the wood is implicitly homologized to the boring patterns of worms or termites which it visually recalls. To some who feel that human civilization is meant to rise above nature into a posture of metaphysical invulnerability this might seem a dispairing homology. It is better seen, however, as a sobering acceptance of the frailty of the human situation along with a powerful homage to natural life force and the process of change it involves. -Thomas McEvilley

“Zansky is not afraid of asking the big questions and often does so with dark humor. A breadth of vision that envelops science, mythology, philosophy, psychology, literature, music, art history, and cinema makes his work as rich in content and ambitious in scope as it is visually compelling.” -Kathleen Goncharov


"The imagery on the panels is carved by hand and by power tools, and often scorched to give the surface a rugged patina that enhances their raw and urgent sense of turmoil. [Altogether, these panels form] an opus work consisting of over 200 elements which, when brought together, extends to over 800 running feet. The mammoth work speaks to the gravity of the artist's subject—a history of the universe and human endeavor. The wood reliefs take on a myriad of subjects from theories of the universe to war. Individual panels reference Goya Durer, and Van Gogh, among a long list of others, to collectively make it seem as if this work of art is not only networked with the history of art, but is in some sense born out of the anguish and emotion captured by previous generations of artists." -Jessica Hough


“The existential questions stirred up by Zansky's occasionally grotesque new work puzzle us. With his Zen joking, this artist takes angst one step further--how much further we are too disarmed to say.”-Gerrit Henry

"Zansky resembles an archaeologist who digs through Walter Benjamin's ruins of history, or a forensic scientist who examines the minutiae of the crime scene of civilization. He investigates humanity's successes, follies, and especially failures, when Goya's sleep of reason does indeed produce monsters. The masterpieces of the great Spaniard cast a long shadow over Zansky's work, especially the Disaster's of War and Los Caprichos, as do other works in the Prado such as Bosch's hellish triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights and Velasquez' enigmatic Los Meninas. Zansky literally shifts through the detritus of our culture for his materials. Garbage bags stand in for water, torn lampshades for towers, and glass marbles for planets. Discarded action figures, tourist kitsch, toy clowns, and thrift store figurines are all actors on Zansky's historical stage." -Kathleen Goncharov





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