Artist Zach Mendoza’s Tribute to Great Literary Heroes

The Editors


Much of Zach Mendoza‘s art is an investigation of the ways things are built, disrupted, reinterpreted, or redefined into something new.


Francis Bacon once said, “I want a very ordered image, but I want it to come about by chance,” and that fundamental dichotomy of chaos and order is a prime component of Zach’s practice. His narrative work is infused with universal truth – or rather the search for that truth, and opposing forces are always at play: randomness and order, beauty and the grotesque, victim and aggressor.


The great reverence that Mendoza has for the past (and an equal infatuation with the lurking shadow of the future) is omnipresent in his alla prima portraits, which pay tribute to his literary heroes -- including F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, Sylvia Plath, and Fyodor Dostoevsky. His combination of expressionism and neorealism embodies the era in which many of his subjects thrived. As a perpetual student of history, he draws a line from late modernism through post-contemporary art, such that even latter-day heroes connect back to the writers and artists that inspired them, in addition to Mendoza, himself.


According to Mendoza, “I have always had an appreciation and reverence for the past. Romantic-era music and art has moved me since before I knew how to articulate the feeling and it continues to, still. I give great credence to the art movements that preceded me, though it is sometimes difficult to reconcile old wisdom with a post-modern understanding of time in the age of the internet.

“Turner and Basquiat can be components of a single Google search. While each is a master in his own right, and separated by more than a century, the democratization of information online dissolves the context. And so now when someone enters my name into a search engine, this very page will list my name beside theirs–all of us intrinsic to one another and to the writers and artists that comprise the portraits in this show. Just by painting them, I’ve created a through-line that connects us all,” Mendoza explains.






Zach Mendoza: Literary is on display at Gallery 30 South through May 31. For more information, visit the gallery’s website.


Highbrow Magazine

not popular
Images courtesy of Zach Mendoza and Gallery 30 South
Bottom Slider: 
Out Slider