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Stephen Zaima: Mysterious Bridge | Exhibition Stephen Zaima: Mysterious Bridge | Exhibition
A Real Allegory | 61″ x 100″ oil on linen (1990) A Real Allegory | 61″ x 100″ oil on linen (1990)
Anvil | 17″ x 18″ oil on wood (1998) Anvil | 17″ x 18″ oil on wood (1998)
Corona di Spina | 84″ x 76″ oil on jute (1997) Corona di Spina | 84″ x 76″ oil on jute (1997)
Imbroglio | 95″ x 80″ x 30″ oil on canvas, old vines (2015-19) Imbroglio | 95″ x 80″ x 30″ oil on canvas, old vines (2015-19)
Stephen Zaima Stephen Zaima
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The Louise and Bernard Palitz Gallery at Syracuse University Lubin House presents “Stephen Zaima: Mysterious Bridge,” on view beginning June 10. This exhibition highlights work from the past 30 years by the distinguished artist, who recently retired after nearly 40 years as a professor of art and associate dean at Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. Curated by Eric Gleason ’05, director of the Paul Kasmin Gallery, this show presents a selection of Zaima’s large-scale paintings as well as his more recent photographic works. 

The Palitz Gallery is located in Syracuse University’s Lubin House at 11 E. 61st St., New York City. Exhibition hours are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The exhibition runs through August 15 and is closed university holidays and July 4. A gallery reception, with the artist and curator in attendance, will be held on Tuesday, June 25, from 6 – 8 p.m. The exhibition and related programs are free and open to the public. Contact 212.826.0320 or for more information.

Stephen Zaima does not spoon-feed narratives, despite the emphatic nature of his iconography. Although the spare components that comprise many of the works may suggest an easy interpretation, baked into the works are numerous subtle, unexpected decisions made along the way - the profound use of negative space; the textural treatment of the underbrush; the object-ness of the work - and it is these decisions laid bare that allow for infinite pleasurable attempts at deconstructing the painting for any active viewer.

As seen in the works in this exhibition, Zaima’s symbols and iconography recur throughout his oeuvre at varying intervals and across several media. Immediate examples seen in “A Real Allegory,” 1990, “Corona del Spina,” 1997, and “Anvil,” 1998, include the harpsichord, the airplane, the anvil, the dividing line, varying spiral forms, and the crown of thorns. The relationships between these icons and the manner in which they are created involve no accidents. Personal and art historical anecdotes intertwine, previously visible imagery is obscured, and compositions oscillate between the Rorschachian and the linear.

In Zaima’s work he captivates, he challenges, he provokes contemplation, allowing the fortunately engaged viewer to enjoy every attempt at deconstructing the works. 

The Palitz Gallery, located in Syracuse University's Lubin House, is the Syracuse University Art Galleries' visual arts venue in midtown Manhattan. The Syracuse University Art Galleries is Syracuse University’s fine arts museum, offering the University community and the general public a dynamic schedule of engaging and thought-provoking exhibitions, all of them enriched by public programs. The Syracuse University Art Galleries and the Palitz Gallery are members of Syracuse University’s Coalition of Museum and Art Centers (CMAC).