January 30 to April 17, 2011
Tommy Zen, heir to a traditional art
Born in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Tommy Giovanni Zen is the third generation of a Venetian family of cabinetmakers. From them he learned the techniques of traditional cabinetmaking dating back to the time of the Renaissance, notably how to apply the metal foil and different varnishes that give furniture a patina and a rich ornamental finish. When he was 14, Zen discovered that he had a passion for pottery. Fascinated by the art of entertaining, he fashioned with his hands, using a technique called coiling, ambitiously large tableware. After earning a diploma in the visual arts, he embarked on an educational journey during which other artisans instilled in him a passion for the land. His love of painting developed in the mid-2000s, when he drew away from the constraints of working in three dimensions, allowing him to experiment in an unlimited way. Heir to an artistic knowledge loaded with tradition and inspired by a global culture that transcends space and time, Zen has, for 30 years, shown through his creative process, how he links organic subjects directly with their urban and rural environments. Zen exhibits principally in the United States and Canada. His works are part of numerous public and private collections, notably in the Middle East.
Between material and form – art that is larger than life!
Tommy Zen’s unique creative process is the outcome of a long reflective journey, involving intense research into matter and form. By going back to natural sources, the artist has been able to employ the same techniques as his predecessors, applying the metal foil that embellish his creations. Zen paints large format pictures that arouse intense emotion, attesting to a deep search within himself. Marrying classical Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and African shapes, his works are pasted into metal sheets, then coated with oil pigments and varnish, creating a perspective that varies according to the intensity of the light. A pure visual delight and a mustsee