A Multi-Sensory Experience Enthralls and Excites at The MCCC Gallery Exhibit “ Searching for the Cultural Plumb Bob”  Through March 5

Opening Reception and “A Conversation With Artist, Zahar Vaks”  Feb. 5

WEST WINDSOR– A true multi-sensory trifecta of olfactory, tactile and visual awaits visitors at The Gallery at Mercer County Community College (MCCC) for the latest exhibition entitled “Searching for the Cultural Plumb Bob,” on display Jan. 27 through March 5 featuring the works of Uzbekistan native Zahar Vaks.

The public is invited to “A Conversation With Artist, Zahar Vaks,” on Wednesday,  Feb. 5 from noon until 1:30 p.m. in the Communications Building, Room CM107 on MCCC's West Windsor Campus. A community reception with the artist will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5 in The MCCC Gallery.

Zahar Vaks is a visual artist based in Brooklyn, N.Y. Born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Vaks’ paintings, drawings and structures are material narratives actualized by a multi-sensory approach. The olfactory and tactile elements of his work are just as important as the visual. His works address the perception of time through the marinating of oil, tree sap balsams and pigments with ingredients used in cooking, such as turmeric. Vaks applies his ingredients to various surfaces such as linen, canvas, silk screens, vinyl, drywall and I-phones.

“A quick, bold gesture can dissolve into a slow and subtle remnant”

“Zahar Vaks explores a conversation between the ancient and the contemporary,” said Alice K. Thompson, director at The MCCC Gallery, “Vaks’ paintings depict spaces — whether scenes from memory or the sensory recalls of a corporeal experience. The passage of time in a painting can be specific or elusive or even completely timeless. A quick, bold gesture can dissolve into a slow and subtle remnant.”

The surfaces of Vaks’ pieces are remarkably varied. Paintings are stretched or left loose with surfaces fused. A piece of organza painted with fabric dye may be layered over velvet. The fusion of these layers creates a new kind of skin that is not easily identifiable and allows for more possibilities.

Vaks earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Tyler School of Art, and a Master of Fine Arts from Ohio State University. His work has been exhibited in New York, Philadelphia, Columbus, Las Vegas, Houston, Vienna and on the island of Svalbard in Norway. This past summer he was invited to participate in the Rauschenberg Residency. He attended the Galveston Artist Residency from 2012-13. Currently he is a member of the Ortega y Gasset Projects, an artist-run curatorial collective and exhibition space in Gowanus, Brooklyn. 

More about Zahar Vaks’ work can be found at http://www.zaharvaks.com.

The MCCC Gallery is located on the second floor of the Communications Building on the college’s West Windsor Campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays. For updates, directions and other information, visit www.mccc.edu/gallery or facebook.com/MCCCgallery.

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“Searching for the Cultural Plumb Bob” by Zahar Vaks