Paintings and Conceptual Art by Tom Pazderka
Bender Gallery is pleased to present “Everything is True, Nothing is Permitted”, a solo exhibition of Czech-American artist Tom Pazderka’s weighty oil, ash and charcoal paintings on burned panel and paper. The exhibition runs through May 31 with an opening reception on Friday May 3 from 5-8 PM during downtown Asheville’s gallery stroll.
The exhibition is a commentary on the developing mores of the 21st century and the age of cyberspace. It is a play on the more familiar maxim, “Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted” which Pazderka has reversed and given new meaning. Offered in this exhibition are a selection of paintings based on found family photos from the artist’s childhood, images of dictators titled with their original vocations and arresting images of smoke clouds from California wild fires near the artist’s studio. Pazderka works on reclaimed wood panel which he burns and then paints with a mixture of ashes, oil, charcoal and water.
In Pazderka’s words, “It's the difference between the ideology of the right vs left, if we take them as monolithic and absolute, because basically the right compels people to act a certain way (thou shalt this, thou shalt that) and the left attempts to prevent people from acting certain ways (thou shalt not). It's subtle, but that's the difference. In the digital world, information no matter if it's correct or not, real or fake, is taken in, it is all in some sense 'true.' It could be scientific fact or personal experience. They're both taken with the same veracity. Up until the 20th century, scientific thought based on the Enlightenment, mostly ruled the way we thought about everything, and because scientific thought was still in the process of upending centuries of religious dogma, nothing was actually true that was taken for granted. Fast forward, as a result of everything that was possible or permitted in the 20th century, from hydrogen bombs to sending probes to Mars. More recently even this scientific based culture is being upended, because of various reasons, from feminism and gender theory to the rise of the internet, where everyone can now chime in. So, tribalism and rudimentary religious ideas find their way back into the system that was keeping them at bay. But this is not a return to the past, it's something else. Knowledge itself is being questioned. How do we know what we know? Some ideas that were firmly believed are now being taken down, replaced by others, history is being rewritten, what was possible thirty years ago, is now completely shut out. Also, the very idea that the future is something we ought to be looking forward to, is now gone. There's no future, no past, it's the all- encompassing present “
Pazderka is an interdisciplinary artist, teacher and writer. He was born near Prague in the early 1980s towards the end of the Communist era in Czechoslovakia and emigrated to the U.S. in 1994 when he was twelve. His work and life are deeply influenced by what he describes as the “incompleteness of the immigrant experience”. He holds a BFA from Western Carolina University and an MFA from UC Santa Barbara. He has received many awards and fellowships and has held residencies in the US, France and the Czech Republic.
Bender Gallery is a premier contemporary fine art and sculpture gallery representing established and emerging artists. Their specialty is glass sculpture created by internationally acclaimed artists. The gallery also represents a growing number of notable figurative and abstract painters.