Gallery 263 is excited to announce Cookout, a solo exhibition by Zach Horn that contemplates the artist’s spiritual relationship with food. This show is part of Gallery 263’s Exhibition Proposal Series, a program in which shows are selected by a competitive jurying process. The multimedia pieces on view—which are made with acrylic paint, oil paint, plaster, and found objects, like spoons, mugs, forks, and cocktail umbrellas—function as a single installation. The artist began this body of work before the pandemic, back when terms like social distancing were unimaginable. As a result, Cookout inevitably morphed from a nuclear exploration of food to one that is more aspirationally communal.
In Zach Horn’s family, food is their love language. They ascribe to the belief that for every human emotion, there is a meal. There is food for loss—Edible Arrangements—and there is food for birth—bagels with the works. In Spaghetti 1, the artist considers how his mother’s spaghetti conveys her love for him. In Bagel with Cream Cheese, a sliced and toasted bagel is rendered so meticulously that the viewer can almost taste the crunch of the bread and the richness of the spread. The imagery depicted in Horn’s work marks the tridaily endeavors of prepping, setting, eating, and clearing. These efforts are how routine becomes ritual.
A cookout is an old theme that recalls Seurat, Manet, Poussin, Lorraine, and Titian. The difference with Horn’s art is that he makes the viewer the protagonist of the scene. Instead of showing people eating, the artist shares the delightful results of his culinary labors: a blue sky day, a colorful picnic blanket, a group of shiny silverware, and a piece of bread with a thick smear of peanut butter. Whether the work includes the repetitious act of making sandwiches for many or serving bowls of Cheerios for four, this kind of effort is a source of pleasure for the artist and those whose love language is food.
About the Artist
Zach Horn received his BA from the University of Pennsylvania and his MFA from Boston University. He has exhibited in multiple museum exhibitions, such as the Museum of Work & Culture, the American Labor Museum, UMaine Museum of Art, the Commonwealth Museum, the Art Complex Museum, the Gibson House Museum, the Attleboro Arts Museum, the Alexandria Museum of Art, and the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art. He has shown with numerous galleries and academic institutions throughout the country and in Ireland. His work is represented by Asterisk Projects, New York, NY, Appleton Art & Design, Westport, CT, in the Boston Drawing Project at Carroll & Sons Gallery, Boston, MA, and in the flat files at Lamontagne Gallery, Boston, MA. He is a contributing critic to Collect Magazine, Big, Red & Shiny, and Art Practical. He is the recipient of grants from the Blanche E. Colman Trust, the Puffin Foundation, the UMass Boston Labor Resource Center, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Horn is a Lecturer at the University of Massachusetts Boston and at Boston University.
Header image: Peanut Butter and Jelly III, Acrylic and oil on canvas, 24 inches x 36 inches, 2021