With an entomological fascination, Brooklyn-based painter, Zane York, creates magical floral still-lifes that are not actual flowers but insects convincingly arranged in lush, kaleidoscope bouquets.
York is influenced by the long history of the Dutch floral still-life paintings of Jan Brueghel the Elder, Jan Davidsz de Heem, Balthasar van der Ast, and Rachel Ruysch, as well as masters of the strange and unorthodox like Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Hieronymus Bosch, Matthias Grünewald, Caravaggio, and Giuseppe Arcimboldi.
According to York, “I work to reinterpret the floral theme using non-traditional means; most obviously with insects as flowers, but also through canvas shape, lighting, evocation of movement, transparency, impermanence of forms, and ultimately taking liberty with reality through realistic painting. In many different ways, the paintings transform the traditional floral still life into something slightly bizarre and unexpected, encouraging a reexamination of life and death, the fluidity of what we know, and how we define beauty.”
York was born in Fremont, Nebraska in 1978 and grew up in Dubuque, Iowa. He received his B.F.A. in drawing, painting, and sculpture from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and received an M.F.A. from the New York Academy of Art. He has shown at Causey Contemporary in Brooklyn as well as Ripon College in Wisconsin, Austin Artworks Center in Minnesota, Eden Rock Gallery in St. Barth’s, The Fontbonne University Gallery in St. Louis, Studio 7 Gallery in New Jersey, and The New York Academy of Art, with an upcoming exhibition at the Arsenal Gallery in New York City’s Central Park. His work has earned numerous awards, from institutions such as the Posey Foundation, the Milton J. Memorial, and The Prince of Wales Scholarship.