HEADRUSH: Bodily reaction when too little oxygen floats to the head. Often occurs when standing up too quickly, eating something very cold, getting high, or when suddenly struck by adrenaline. Common symptoms include lightheadedness, a sudden feeling of euphoria, as well as tingling vision or “stars” in ones eye sight.
The works of LA-based artist, Zane Lewis, are like visualizations of this bodily experience concretized in a kind of psychedelic minimalism. They evoke a phenomenology of the senses through his meticulous application of sprayed paint with visuals that nod to Monet sunsets and the electric noise of Kurt Cobain’s grunge guitar riffs.
His paintings are energy overload exploding onto the canvases. By using fluorescent and striking colors, Lewis gives a certain freshness and lightness to the works that impact the viewer from afar, whilst alluring them deeper for a further, closer look. Fluorescent colors are often used to warn against something, and it is exactly this power and notion of dangerousness that attracts Lewis.
Actively using colour theory in the composition of the works, such as applying opposite colours close to each other, Lewis’s works give off a glowing 3D-effect making the colors seemingly float and vibrate before the eyes. This colour upon colour technique, with shifting tonalities and densities, disorients the viewer of how close or far away from the works they stand. Furthermore, the colors change as one moves about the canvas, thus the works cannot be fully perceived from one angle alone and become a kinetic experience. When spray-painting, it is technically difficult to achieve Lewis's spacing between the applied paint marks which demonstrates his precise control of the medium and unique process.
Lewis gained notoriety in the mid-2000’s working in mixes of figurative abstraction and appropriated images. However, in 2010 he took a break from the art scene to re-group, and told Wallpaper Magazine in 2015 “I sort of had to kill off the artist I used to be”.
This was the starting point for his present praxis with works that are spray-painted. They are abstract paintings but are neither action nor color-field paintings as you know them. Inspired by different styles and techniques, Lewis has found a unique style of his own, and maybe that is why his works still remain incredibly intriging once the immediate headrush subsides.