Zach Nader: The States Project: New York
Zach Nader is a digital artist living and working in Brooklyn, NY. In his series Counterweight, Nader presents the viewer with scanned family snapshots of which he has digitally removed all figures that were present in the photographs. Nader “began with family snapshots because they so simply idealize their subjects. They exist to show people in a specific place, and were often created quickly and with little to no knowledge of the apparatus used”. This lack of awareness and blunt use of the tool at hand then directly reflects his blunt and loud use of the digital tool he used to remove the figural elements, the content-aware fill tool in Photoshop: an automated tool that fills in a selected area with what the computer believes to be a seamless fill.
When thinking of imagery as visual language composed of symbols, just as our written languages are, Nader explores the ways in which one can re-order these visual symbols to skew and even create new meaning through the provided vocabulary of the vintage snapshot. In Nader’s own words, “the removal of that core [subject], unhinges the image and allows it to become something else. When you think of images as a language, then the removal, shift, or reordering of elements creates a structural change.” This altering of meaning is something that is of core interest and he sees as one of the artist’s most powerful tools, “the ability to alter language, [and] to insist on a new way of seeing and understanding the world.”
Zach Nader is a Brooklyn-based artist originally from Dallas, Texas. His reworking of existing photographic imagery has been exhibited nationally and internationally, most recently during a month-long nightly video installation on 23 advertisement billboards as part of Midnight Moment in New York’s Times Square. His work has also been featured in publications including ArtFCity, ArtObserved, Hyperallergic, L Magazine, Photograph Magazine, The New Criterion, Arts and Science Journal, and VICE, among others. Nader completed an Art & Science Residency this past fall at The Pioneer Works Center for Art and Innovation in Brooklyn, NY, and is represented by Microscope Gallery in Brooklyn, NY.
Counterweight consists of my altered family snapshots with the depicted persons digitally removed. The altered images are then printed like their predecessors, as glossy c-prints, though significantly enlarged. While I am interested in these new photographic objects as markers of the possibilities of memory and understanding in one’s own photographic record, their potential as sites of new possibility is equally compelling.
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