Gala and Zack Bents’ back-to-back shows at 4Culture have been on my mind a lot, yet I’ve been having a hard time putting words to the images and the experience of viewing them. After a good look around Zack’s show, I saw immediately its relation to Gala’s; though again, it was hard to articulate what the connection was.
Then, I read this paragraph written by Gala and posted on her blog, drifts & scatters:
A conversation that my husband Zack and I had a while ago comes back to me all the time when we are navigating the waters of being artists at this time in history. Actually, we’ve had many versions of this conversation. We agree that success for its own sake is an old awful human foil, and press one another to answer why we do it otherwise. Why do we forsake other sorts of stability or respectability in favor of this often-absurd practice? For me, it comes down to a few lodestar reasons. One is that my life has been moved and touched, shaken and cleaved, made more vibrant and meaningful, by the work of other artists in every medium. A simple formula, really, but something that helps me realign the compass when engaging in this self-directed, ambiguously-shaped “job.” Imagine your life without the music, films and books that have hedged it. The word inspire has been overused, but when I think of its etymology (as I have before on this blog) I love the image of being breathed into. The most fitting response has always been to exhale.
From what I can tell from the little I know of Zack and Gala, their art practices are them breathing. In both of their practices, there is a history of who they are as artists. There is their family. There is their spirituality/mythology/culture. There is an open-hearted yet mysterious quality that comes from a thoughtfully developed vocabulary. They make the work that comes naturally to them; I think it is them. It is sincere and compelling and rich. It is “natural” yet mindful. Like breathing.