Our next Artist You Need To Know is Badanna Zack.
A conceptual artist who works primarily in sculpture, Zack was born in Montréal, QC but now lives and works in Toronto. “Zack emerged as a sculpture artist during the Minimalist movement, from which she rebelled against [both in terms of its staid excessive intellectualism and misogyny] to emerge as a unique sculptor with a bold and dissenting voice. Renowned as a provocateur of Canadian art, Zack is known for her papier-mâché, soft sculpture, and large-scale replicas of everyday objects.” (from here)
Zack’s work is noted for its amusing irreverence, and this is something that began with her association with “the minimalist sculpture school—and its attendant lofty reverence, self-seriousness, and patriarchal dogma and practices—within which she begrudgingly received her education.
Attacking the humourlessness of such a movement, and humourlessness at-large (especially when belonging to figures of authority), Zack’s artwork took on the voice of satire, laying the foundation to establish her as the gadfly of Canadian art for which she became known.” (Chelsea Rozansky, from her essay for the exhibition Badanna Zack : Black and White, at United Contemporary)
Zack studied architecture at McGill University in the early 1950s, and worked as an architect for a decade before earning a B.A of Fine Arts from Concordia University (1964) and an M.F.A. in Fine Arts from Rutgers University, New Jersey (1967).
Her works can be found in the collections of Douglas College (New Brunswick, New Jersey); Rutgers University (New Brunswick, New Jersey); Concordia University (Montréal, P.Q.); Art Gallery Of Hamilton (Hamilton, Ontario); Oakville Centennial Gallery (Oakville, Ontario); Lynnwood Arts Centre (Simcoe, Ontario): the Canada Council Art Bank & many private collections. She’s been awarded numerous grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council.
Zack’s work has been shown in numerous group and solo exhibitions, both nationally and internationally, for nearly half a century. Notable exhibitions and installations of her work have taken place at sites including Museum London (London, ON), Burnaby Art Gallery (Burnaby, BC), Harbourfront Gallery (Toronto, ON), Art Gallery Of Hamilton (Hamilton, ON), Kitchener-Waterloo Gallery (Kitchener, ON), Oakville Centennial Gallery (Oakville, ON), The Tom Thompson Gallery (Owen Sound, ON), Justina M. Barnicke Gallery (Hart House, University Of Toronto, Toronto, ON), Art Gallery Of Algoma (Sault Ste. Marie, ON), Thames Art Gallery (Cambridge, ON), The Art Gallery Of Mississauga (Mississauga, ON), McIntosh Gallery (London, ON), Plug In ICA (Winnipeg, MB) and in the Belgium Sculpture Biennial (Antwerp, Belgium)
Zack has also produced several installations in the public sphere and her conscientiousness about materials (such as her many sculptures in the lesser regarded medium of papier-mâché that we’ve shared here) is also manifest in these artworks. One of the works below – On The Shield – can be explored more at The Tree Museum site here.
“Although Zack rebelled against formalism and the minimalist reductivism of Robert Morris, she understood the integrity of his most successful works as objects, and their potential for physical, dynamic interaction.” (Clara Hargittay from her essay Home Sweet Home in response to Badanna Zack: From Object to Poetic Space)
Many more works by Badanna Zack can be enjoyed at the CCCA Artist Database here.