Ferocious lace: Robert Rahway Zakanitch at Locks


Robert Zakanitch
Robert Zakanitch, Red Squirrel (Lace Series), 2001
acrylic on canvas
55 x 69 inches

Some thing worth squeezing in before it’s gone–

Robert Rahway Zakanitch’s paintings of lace and embroidery, at Locks Gallery through tomorrow, use monumental scale, the shifting instability of fabric, and the gloppy texture of material extruded from tubes to take what seems like it might be a decorative enterprise into not so much a comfort zone as a discomfort zone in need of mending.

Robert Zakanitch
Robert Zakanitch, installation shot, Locks Gallery, Philadelphia

The coarseness, the irregularities, the earnest sentimentality that teeters on ferociousness represent a yearning to recapture in its network a time lost.

The deliberately coarse, irregular strokes of paint stretch the hand-made lace out of shape to fit what’s underneath, the symmetry nearly lost–but not quite lost–in the effort to protect.

Robert Zakanitch, Blue Birds (Lace Series), 2001. acrylic on canvas, 54 x 66 inches
Robert Zakanitch, Blue Birds (Lace Series), 2001. acrylic on canvas, 54 x 66 inches

Zakanitch has achieved something magical here, managing to turn the what could be kitsch into powerful expressions of will and determination. He has not so much encroached on the feminine arts but rather has built a tribute to all they represent. Zakanitch’s work seems closer in spirit and execution to the current DIY rage than it does to the feminist Pattern and Decoration movement.

I loved these paintings and wished I could have brought one home with me.

The catalog contains an essay by the excellent Arthur Danto, so you might want to consider making the purchase.


locks gallery, robert rahway zakanitch



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