A solo exhibit opening this month at Bender Gallery will feature works by painter and installation artist Tom Pazderka that depict the darker side of landscape, nature, and memory. “One Day I Will Disappear, like much of what I do, is a work in progress,” says Pazderka. As its title suggests, the meaning of the show has to do with impermanence, the interchangeability of various artistic motifs that ultimately — no matter when they were created — come to exist wholly in the moment, “fungible and hopefully resistant to absolutism of any sort,” as Pazderka describes in a statement.
“Within the abstractness,” he says, “lies a kernel of the totality of my work up to this point.” The mix of images includes past paintings, renderings of old family photographs, and the ash clouds of California wildfires. The effect, Pazderka says, is “very lo-fi … a bit of an antidote to today’s overproduced, overhyped, overstimulating art production.”
Featured work is black and white with hints of color throughout — similar to the appearance of aged black-and-white photos. Creating ash and oil paintings on burned panel or paper is a technique Pazderka developed over the years from working with torches and materials. “Like with everything I’ve done, the work has evolved through a series of accidents and discoveries, which I’ve then rationalized, intellectualized, and eventually built a kind of pantheon of figures and events around,” explains the artist.
As Pazderka explores humanity’s quest for a universal truth, he returns thematically and emotionally to his native city, Prague; he grew up there in 1981 during the waning of the Communist era in Czechoslovakia. Dark and haunting, Pazderka’s beautiful pieces are often based on the people and architecture of his past.
But when the artist talks about hope for the future, he travels again to the present moment.
“The art world is a lot different now,” Pazderka, who has shown at Bender before, recently remarked to Asheville Made. “It feels like many people are seeking art and are ready to plug culture back into their lives. The next few months, we’re going to see a big surge in activity, perhaps overactivity, as people try to catch up on a year and a half of missed time.
“What that will do to my work, me as an artist and other artists in the field — that’s still anybody’s guess. But people are still looking at and buying art, which is a good sign.”
July 3-August 31; Opening Reception (RSVP): July 3, 6-9pm
Bender Gallery, 29 Biltmore Ave., Asheville. www.bendergallery.com. 828-505-8341.