Zach Nader “You are a light machine”

Microscope Gallery

poster for Zach Nader “You are a light machine”
[Image: Zach Nader "sunrise ghosts” (2022) acrylic, wood, incision and drawing onto UV-cured inkjet on Dibond, 48 x 64 in. — Courtesy of the artist and Microscope Gallery, New York ]

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Microscope Gallery presents You are a light machine, the fifth solo exhibition at the gallery by Zach Nader following his 2020 virtual exhibition “something familiar,” which was also featured on The Armory Show Online.

In his new two- and three-dimensional works in You are a light machine, Nader reflects upon the way images infiltrate our lives and our planet, especially since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic. Th artist asks the viewer to consider their roles in their production and consumption: How many images have we created — real, remembered, or imagined?; How much time do we spend interacting with images?; What are the lives of these images after they have been shared?; and what are their values, or costs, to others and ourselves?

Blending various lifestyle advertisements with his own photos of personal moments with family and friends, Nader blurs the lines between public and private, product and memory. Commercial and personal images are difficult to distinguish, with ads imitating life and life becoming a self-promoting and self-branding visual activity.

Incorporating vibrant digital images printed on handmade and natural materials such as rock, fabric, mesh screen, and even thin layers of acrylic paint — representing a further expansion of the artist’s original use of UV-cured inkjet printing technology — Nader also draws attention to the proliferation and pollution of images into all aspects of reality, proposing that any surface is a potential image receptacle or screen.

In a new wall-based pieces, the starting points for each are UV prints on Dibond in which Nader — through his signature process of misusing photo-editing software tools — causes images to break apart, collapse into each other, and reveal pixelation and other digital artifacts. Further physical manipulations suggest the overload of our increasingly image-driven existences and our nearly continuous visual exchange between our minds and the world we inhabit.

Hand-carvings of patterns into the works’ metal surfaces, reminiscent of emojis or cave paintings, reveal hidden layers created through multiple UV inkjet printings. Grids created through the application of acrylic paint, erasures through scraping, and the attachment of yarn or small objects made by the artist provide texture and depth not possible in a purely digital image. And, colors painted onto the edges and backs of the Dibond sheets cast reflections on the walls and a monochrome halo.

A series of small sculptures titled “garden rocks” feature colorful, digitally reconfigured scenes of everyday life UV printed on acrylic paint, which appear to be glistening in puddles trapped within the crevices of the dark stones excavated from the artist’s backyard. Where normally such reflections evaporate, the images in these rocks remain. The works also represent the artist’s most complete disintegration of the boundaries between the mediums of painting and photography to date.

The free-standing floor sculpture “extremely precise (dream)” can be seen as a real-life embodiment of a digital collage, constructed with personal and consumer household items that are altered through paint and UV printing. A red screen door that seems to have been blown out of its frame balances between a circular rug and a simple green chair, with a purple wooden duck on its seat. Images of nature and people in the city that appear on the door’s mesh screen and a raised fabric section of the carpet suggest the lives, memories and dreams that occupied the now deserted home.

Nader’s new single-channel “haunted shapes,” concerns itself with the visual streams occupying our minds and memories, including those we retain, those which echo through repetition, and those which permeate our past and future experiences. A video within a larger video, for which the artist breaks down and reworks his original footage and internet-sourced commercials, is confined to the bottom left quarter of the screen. Animations of outlines of objects such as houses, windows, and clouds, haunt the remaining screen space roaming freely throughout, presenting the shapes and forms of recurring objects in the video, with their interiors mirroring their colors and textures.

Zach Nader is an artist excavating new possibilities in content and aesthetics for existing photographic imagery through the use and misuse of image editing softwares. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including at Time Square Arts’ “Midnight Moment”, New York; Thomas Erben Gallery, New York; Eyebeam, New York; Interstate Projects, Brooklyn, NY; Centre Pompidou Paris, France; Haus der elektronischen Künste, Basel, Switzerland; Cultuurcentrum Hasselt, Belgium; and Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts, Birmingham, AL, among others. His virtual exhibition “something familiar” in 2020 was also featured on The Armory Show Online. His work has been reviewed in publications including Afterimage, Artsy, Photograph Magazine, VICE Magazine, WIRED Magazine, and was published in Foam Magazine, and others. Nader was an Art & Science Resident at The Pioneer Works Center for Art and Innovation in Brooklyn, NY and has been a featured speaker at ICP-Bard, New York, NY, and Bard at Simon Rock, Great Barrington, MA, among others. Zach Nader was born in Dallas, Texas and lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.



from April 21, 2022 to May 28, 2022

Opening Reception on 2022-04-21 from 18:00 to 20:00


Zach Nader

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