July 25, Zach Bucek

LOS ANGELES, CA.       90021
For sudden Joys, like Griefs, confound at first.
                                                                        -Daniel Defoe, from Robinson Crusoe

Once I had established these things, I thought I had reached port; but when I set myself to reflect on the union of the soul with the body, I seemed to be cast back again into the open sea.
MYSTERIOUS TRAVELER is a one night solo show by ZACH BUCEK, featuring paintings and drawings. TRAVELER takes as its premise the castaway narrative. The castaway functions as both protagonist and author, existing in a perpetual state of suspense, facing the pressures and possibilities of a strange, uncertain environment. To contend with this anxiety, the castaway attempts to impose an order upon the unknown. He makes maps and calendars to master land and time, shelters to contain and protect, tools to shape and transform raw material, vessels to explore or escape, and a language to define and describe. However, these colonizing attempts are often met with failure, as the inexorable forces of time and nature break down both body and mind. The pictures in TRAVELER present fragments and artifacts of these moments of rupture, displacement, and transformation. The imaginative terrain of TRAVELER has its origins in the daily activity of a transplant navigating the urban archipelago of Southern California. Like the castaway, the artist must always start from experience, their creations existing between work and life, between the external world and a constantly compromised subjectivity.
At places in the central valley the vegetation rose shoulder-high. Several times he had fallen over the stone walls and brickwork courses hidden beneath the grass, but he picked himself up and doggedly pushed ahead. By now he ignored the nettles that stung his legs through the torn fabric of his trousers, accepting these burning weals in the same way that he accepted his own weariness. By doing so he found he could concentrate on whatever task lay in front of him – the next painful push through a nettle bank, a difficult step across a tilting flagstone. In some way, this act of concentration proved that he could dominate the island.
                                                                        -J.G. Ballard, from Concrete Island

Perhaps as a way of speaking of itself, literature – by insisting on shipwrecking on uncharted islands that oppose their shores to the hostile void and reject the order of the mainland – will keep doing what it always has done: opening up the possibility of another life, away from this one.
                                                                        -Hernán Díaz, from A topical paradise

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