The exhibit features unique, double-sided paintings exploring the legends and lore of pirates. Images of cannon balls, sailing frigates, oceans, islands and the iconic Jolly Roger flag with skull and crossbones share the spotlight only with the materials themselves. Scrolls of varying sizes, evoke impressions of commerce raiders, seaborne warriors, and adventurers in search of booty.
“With inspired ingenuity, Joe Zucker has once again intertwined history, subject matter and the physical materials of his work,” said Robbin Zella, Director of the Housatonic Museum of Art, “to create an inventive iconography that aptly captures the swashbuckling energy of these infamous buccaneers.”
Zucker’s Scrolls series reflects his involvement with the sea as well as his interest in the legends of pirates like Captain William Kidd and Blackbeard, who terrorized the high seas and sought refuge off the shores of Long Island and Connecticut. For over thirty years, Zucker has returned again and again to the imagery of frigates in full sail, cannon balls, yard arms and the leering grin of the Jolly Roger, creating new iterations of these familiar signs and symbols. With a nod to the Torah, Zucker adopts this format, using it both vertically and horizontally, and in a variety of sizes to great effect, with rolling swells of blues and whites, shifting horizon lines and waves of cannon balls surging in all directions. Other scrolls, painted with the traditional colors associated with pirates: red for blood and black for death, are alive with energy, exhibit a life-force all their own.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.