Gallerynote 2/2004

May 25 to July 10, 2004

Jerry Zeniuk, born in 1945, is a painter. His catalogue of works begins in 1971 with «Untitled no. 1, NYC, destroyed». The subsequent large-format works were consecutively numbered, with those in this exhibition in the range from 269 to 272. In this manner, the history of their origins is revealed. This is intentional and of significance. The work of the painter is made visually concrete as a path and chronological sequence, as a process of artistic maturation that reflects the experiences of painting and may be utilized for other different pictorial formulations. By no means, however, does it result in a determinate stylistic one-way street.

It would also be a misapprehension to read the works as diary-like sketches or manifestations of individual sensitivities. In general, they refuse to fit into a symbolic or metaphorical interpretation. They are not meaningful in this sense.

These paintings demand to be taken up into the valid canon of the history of paintings, to make their contribution in an innovative way and with an awareness of history. This claim may seem outrageous and exaggerated. Our relativistic attitude to life obviously favors ironic brokenness. A certain quota of non-obligatoriness is part of contemporary artistic and cultural-political accoutrements. Yet the painting of Jerry Zeniuk forces obligatoriness, from the artist and from the viewer. It thus stands counter to a strange and comprehensive transformation of self-image and code of behavior in the art scene. The painter unambiguously affirms his definitions and makes use of neither collage nor citations that directly present themselves for a descriptive interpretation. The works by Jerry Zeniuk offer perceptual experiences and formal meanings.

Jerry Zeniuk was born in a refugee camp near Lüneburg. Originally from the Ukraine, his family emigrated to the USA in 1950. Since 1969, the artist has lived in New York with a second residence in Munich since 1992, where he teaches as a professor of painting at the Academy of Fine Arts.

The first solo exhibition with Annemarie and Gianfranco Verna was held in 1977. In the time since, the gallery has presented eight solo exhibitions and many group exhibitions featuring works by the artist.
Retrospectives in museums:

  • 1990 Jerry Zeniuk – Bilder Paintings 1971-1989, Kunsthalle Bremen; Kunstmuseum Winterthur; DAAD Galerie, Berlin; Neue Galerie Kassel
  • 1996 Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe
  • 1999 Oil and Water, Kunstmuseum Winterthur; Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich; Brandenburgische Kunstsammlungen, Cottbus; Neue Galerie Kassel
  • 2003 Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe (Aquarelle).


Rita McBride «Mae West and the Middle Managers»
Mai 36 Galerie, Rämistrasse 37, 8024 Zurich, April 30 to June 5, 2004

Art 35 Basel, Halle 2.0, Stand S2