Nicholas Zann


November 7 – December 15, 2007

Gallery Sakiko is pleased to present “Them”, featuring paintings and works on paper by New York based artist  Nicholas Zann. As a figurative painter, Nicholas Zann explores human relationships. He often works with the diptych format, in which each panel contains one figure, or figures are juxtaposed with objects. The divide between the panels is telling about the relationships in which Zann's protagonists engage. Men and women, children and adults, friends, lovers, competitors - they all face the truth of their nature by means of unusually direct pairings.

For instance, the image of a man and woman sharing a ride in a limousine, both looking outside the opposite window, says a lot about the lack of interpersonal warmth and loneliness. But it doesn't stop there. Zann is a storyteller. While he might just provide his audience with one frozen frame at the time, he leaves us guessing about what came before and what will come after. We are lured into a world in which the chain of coincidences determines the outcome. While immersing ourselves in Zann's paintings, we might learn less about the anonymous people before us than about ourselves.

Nicholas Zann was born in 1943 in New York City, where he resides today.  His career spans five decades and covers a multifaceted terrain, including painting, illustration and music.  In 1956, a painting submitted to and exhibited at Lever House led to a scholarship to attend Pratt Institute; Zann went from there in 1958 to the High School of Industrial Arts, which became known as High School of Art and Design in 1961, the year he graduated.  From 1957-1965, Zann fronted a rock’n’roll band with which he recorded and toured internationally, but in 1965, inspired by a commission for ABC’s Les Crane Show (1964), he turned to pursuing fine art full time.  While starting a professional career in illustration, he continued his fine art studies at the School of Visual Arts, guided by Jack Potter and Burne Hogarth.  Recognized as one of the most innovative and prolific cartoonists and illustrators of his generation, Zann’s magazine and book illustrations were featured on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show (1975 and 1978);  in 1987 he received a prestigious Illustrator’s Society Award, and in 1990, MTV aired a special profile edition on Karl Lagerfeld, Andy Warhol and Nicholas Zann.  “The Answer Deck,” a card game created and illustrated by Zann, was published by Running Press in 2003, and is available in bookstores worldwide.  In addition to his commercial work, Zann has painted figurative compositions since the 1980s.  His paintings can be found in private and public collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts in Springfield, MA (Collection of Thomas F. Parker).