Lawrence Fine Art will open "Athos Zachrias: Taking Chances" at its East Hampton Gallery on Thursday, May 7 with a reception from 6-9 pm. The exhibition inaugurates the gallery's "Summer of Abstraction," which is intended to investigate new developments in and approaches to abstraction across media.
At 89 years-old, Athos Zacharias is a last living link, if not the last living link, to the first generation of Abstract Expressionist painters, many of whom spent significant periods of time on the East End of Long Island. He worked as an assistant to Elaine Dekooning, was Bill DeKooning's first assistant and worked for Lee Krasner, Grace Hartigan and Alfonso Ossorio.
But he was much more than an artist's assistant. Although half a generation younger, he was and is an artist in his own right and part of the group that made post-war New York and America the new center of artistic expression. Zacharias first met DeKooning at the famed Cedar Bar in the late 50s, and their friendship grew from there. Dekooning writes about Zacharias: "I can say he was one of us...Zacharias was as much in the middle of it as anyone." Elaine DeKooning writes of Zacharias: "Athos Zacharias, as a painter, has serendipity: his colors and forms always charge into the right place at the right time."
The gallery will show a series of 35 works, never before seen, completed in the mid-1990s when the artist returned for a period to pure abstraction. The works seem to strip bare any other intention other than to explore composition, motion, line and color.
"We wanted to start our summer program with Zach because abstraction in this country really attained preeminence with the New York School," notes Gallery Director Howard Shapiro.
"We called the show 'Taking Chances' because that is how Zack himself describes his approach to abstraction," says Shapiro. "He calls abstraction 'chancy and dangerous' because you never know how it's going to turn out."
Zacharias was a teacher and is an artist of note, his work in numerous museum collections, including the Corcoran, and he has participated in numerous solo and group shows, many of them on the East End of Long Island.
Lawrence Fine Art
37 Newtown Lane
East Hampton, New York
About Lawrence Fine Art
Lawrence Fine Art specializes in contemporary and historic-modern art.