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Born in 1975, resides in Winnipeg, Canada. Zacharias graduated from Fine Arts Honors at University of Manitoba 1999. He has exhibited internationally and worked as a Scenic Artist on over 50 films across Canada. From 2014 to 2019 he was Director of LANTERN, a commercial contemporary art gallery in Winnipeg, it was highly successful, and a critical part of the contemporary art scene in the city. In 2019 Zacharias closed it down to focus on his own art practice.

While I was too busy working at LANTERN to make my own work, I became haunted by the idea of a series on gold. A set of works that were loud and gaudy yet beautiful, bold and mysterious. I guess it was a type of art that I felt was missing in Manitoba; after I closed the gallery I set about making these paintings.

Canada is waking up from its colonial past, and decolonization is at the forefront of its art criticism, with contemporary First Nations artists, writers, and curators leading. I feel compelled to contribute to this dialogue through works that speak about the colonial settlers themselves. I aim to deconstruct the heroism of this history in part through the catch all figure of the cowboy. This character is drawn from recent histories (North American frontiers) in the shadow of older ones (Central and South American colonialism).

As an archetype rather than a specific historical figure, the cowboy stands as a symbol of colonial power, wealth, machismo, individualism and violence. The heavy use of metallic gold in the paintings is a reference to the economy of extraction and environmental exploitation, but also to the gilded image of the church, and their historical role buttressing colonial empires.

Being in Tlalpan, at the El Sur residency, has both inspired and softened me. The Casa is magical and its garden, the surrounding crown of CDMX mountains, the color and warmth of the people -these things have all made their way into my work. I feel a welcome sense of humor and optimism entering into my practice.

These four paintings refer to each other and exist in the same mythical world together. In “Speak No Evil” only a thin strip of the face between cowboy hat and bandana are painted; two eyes and one ear are exposed. In these cinematic, larger-than-life eyes (That are evil? Angry? Squinting in the sun?) one can see the gold reflected in the pupils but also the pink from other paintings like the sunset hues on the legendary volcanoes of “Izta and Popo”. These isolated forms are establishing shots in a narrative that moves from the macro to the micro. From the volcanoes to the close up on the eyes, from the gate in “City of Gold” to a chicken stepping onto a chessboard-like garden floor in “Del Rey”. These vignettes are like opening lines in chapters of an unfinished book or scenes from a movie you can’t quite remember.

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