Dreams. For me, the process of making a drawing or watercolor is one of dreaming, being open, allowing forms, space and light to flow slowly through me, like the absorption of oil into cloth. Not illustrations or literal translations, my works on paper are transformations from ancient myths to mysterious worlds where the boundaries between underworld and waking earth are traversable, terror coexists with joy, and loss must always yield to renewal. My recent drawings and watercolors, inspired by the great Indian epic, The Ramayana, ancient Celtic myths, as well as more recent poems and novels, are landscape narratives in the guise of abstract explorations. Mood, energy, drama, and emotional tensions are transformed into forms emerging from light and dark, suggestions of figures in space. The very sky descends to occupy the ground as fog, and then rises back to its rightful place, offering an opening and escape to the bright air above. As the critic Mark Daniel Cohen wrote in NYArts Magazine, “Clearly, Zinnes understands the tragic, creative fall into darkness. Every work enacts the chaos of the soul, the eternal battle of darkness with light that is the source of creativity – the source of life itself.”
Landscape and poetry have always been in my bones and blood. Before making these abstracted images, I spent 15 years working directly from observation, creating lyrical metaphors for the combined experience of perception, memory, mood and thought. When I responded to landscapes, the poetry seeped though, and now when I respond to poems, the landscape remains my anchor. Now, rather than suggesting the light and space of an actual motif, my landscapes are cast deep in the rich colors of myth – the language and pictures we create to understand the world at its least understandable.
Artist Bio / CV
Zinnes has had seven solo exhibitions in New York City, including at Ch’i Contemporary Fine Art (Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 2009), Galeria Janet Kurnatoswki (Greenpoint, Brooklyn, 2007), Tribes Gallery (NYC, 2002, 1998), and had a 25-year retrospective at The Art Center at Queens College (2002), as well as been included in many group exhibitions. She also has had one-person shows at Dartmouth (1997) and Swarthmore (1987) Colleges, and the Alliance Gallery (Narrowsburg, NY, 2006). Ms Zinnes has been reviewed (often with illustrations) in The New York Times, New York Newsday, New York Arts Magazine, Art New England, and The Queens Tribune, and been interviewed by NPR affiliate station WJFF (2006). She has received awards from the National Academy of Design, and fellowships from the Virginia Center for the Arts as well as from the Cummington Community for the Arts. Zinnes' work is in many public and private collections: in New York City it is at Alliance Capitol Financial, the First Albany Corporation, Frederick Harris, Inc., and Kaye Insurance, Inc.; in New Jersey it is at Schein Pharmaceuticals; and in Philadelphia it is in the collection of Wolf Block & Solis-Cohen. Currently Zinnes teaches at Pratt Institute and New York City Technical College, CUNY. She has given guest lectures and critiques at Swarthmore College and Dartmouth College, and was a panelist at the National Academy of Design, discussing abstract art in contemporary painting. Born in Norman, Oklahoma, Alice Zinnes then spent her junior high years at the International School in Geneva, Switzerland. She received her BA from Swarthmore College, a Certificate of Merit from the New York Studio School, her MFA from Queens College, CUNY, and attended the Skowhegan School on a full merit scholarship. More recently she earned a CUNY By-Law PhD. Equivalency.