FRANK VEGA | Zero° | January 22 – March 4, 2023
For Frank Vega, a feather is a symbol of a liberated and uninhibited spirit. Full of wonder and allusion, and rich in historical and cultural references, feathers are both the evidence of a winged being and the potential for our own metaphysical buoyancy. Feathers are one of nature’s most beautiful artifacts. As a species, we’ve spent eons reflecting on the color, patterns, elegance and fragility of these evocative traces of flighted beings.
We are compelled by the elegant vestigial feathers and the viscous surfaces swirled into and onto the canvases. It is through the enamel paint that things begin to shift from a light gracefulness toward visceral restraint and stillness. The paint-heavy surfaces lock the feathers in place, keeping them from flight while changing their character and potential. The paint feels industrial; it’s a manufactured material clearly hostile to the feather’s delicacy. But that foreignness has its own quality of subtle allusion. Much like the way tree resin can solidify over time to produce amber, the enamel—formerly liquid—has hardened to forever encase the feathers. The permanence of the embedded feathers stops that moment of flight forever in place. It’s a protective coating, in a sense armor, from an environment less gentle than its own.