ACTIVATE: Market Street Featured Artist: Zach Gabbard


Ambiguity and Trust

During an open studio last weekend, I had the opportunity to have a lengthy conversation about my work with a woman who, when it was over, thanked me and concluded with “I don’t really understand what’s going on but, thank you!”  I replied, “It is the ambiguity that makes it interesting.”  That sentiment gets to the crux of my recent practice exploring the murky line between thinking in terms of the visual and language.  I am starting to make work that rides the line between conceptual and object-oriented forms of communication.

A fully-formed work should have a controlled degree of ambiguity in order for it not to become the mere illustration of an idea.  This fog of potential is a necessary component for letting the viewer project their own personal experiences into the work.  It fosters the deep, vulnerable connection that I want to establish with the viewer, so that our communication is precisely open enough to nurture feelings of trust and awe.

My practice is varied and has come to include performance, video, collaboration, and electronics along with my old saw of icon making.  I offer prayers for heathens in the form of L.E.D. and cold neon signs.  I take to the streets in the guise of my suited character, the Gentleman, and explore local geography looking for signs of the new masculinity.  All the while, I mine the historical precedents for my work:  Bruce Nauman’s neons, Matthew Barney’s Cremaster Cycle, the surreal violence of Andre Breton’s manifestos.  Through historical awareness I come to a position of better understanding our current moment and obtain the necessary license to appropriate freely from that history.

My practice resides at the intersection of what is known and what is felt; at what I can write about and what only my body can comprehend.

For more information visit

To view Zach’s work along with many other fascinating artist’s pieces live, stop by 75 Market Street, 77 Market Street, 85 Market Street and 93 Market Street in Newark New Jersey.

The new rotation will begin October 10th 2013 at dusk. Come by and experience the night life.


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