Spencer van der Zee: Exquisite Corpse

Posted November 07 2014

August 12th - September 4th, 2011

“Exquisite Corpse” was a Surrealist parlor game initially instigated by Andre Breton and Marcel Duchamp, among others – a way to turn serendipity into a process that allows the drawings, words and pictures created by a group of people to merge into each other and become something else entirely.  Spencer van der Zee takes that parlor game and turns it into solitaire:  the disjointedness comes from within.  He opens his mind and art to a concatenation of references and stimuli, including family photos, snippets of text from born again literature left on his car window, phrases he hears throughout the day, beer he’s drinking, social commentary from talk radio, his hopes and fears…   All of this makes its way into his work, a disjointed but somehow cohesive universe of signs and symbols scrupulously sketched and melded into finished drawings that have both folk-art fever and street-art nuance.

“I like to think I’m using art to create a parallel world and a parallel self, a reflection of what I see inside myself,” the artist says.  “I’m creating places I want to explore.  My drawings are portals into those worlds, but I’m not removed from them.  It’s like telepathy with ink.”


- Keith Banner, co-founder of Thunder-Sky, Inc