I was born in Dallas, TX and grew up there. I attended the Kansas City Art Institute where I earned a BFA in studio art with a concentration in painting. Shortly after, I traveled abroad and found myself on an extended sojourn in South Korea where I taught English for about 8 years. In 2008 I became a professor at South of the River (Kangnam) University just outside the nation’s capital of Seoul. In 2009 I headed up the Seoul Arts Collective, an international artist network for which I planned group exhibitions. During one of the university’s winter holidays I traveled in India. Eventually I returned home to pursue a Masters in Fine Arts at Columbia University, which I received in 2014. Last year I accepted a position with the Sumter County Gallery of Art as curator and assistant director. Texas taught me about work ethic. Korea taught me resilience. India taught me dharma. New York taught me attitude. I live and work in South Carolina, but have not been there long enough to know the lessons I will learn from this new experience.
My painting is the result of a process that begins without a predetermined end point. I think of the process as having the shape of an hour glass: the beginning is expansive; the middle part is a contraction and it is uncertain; the final part expands again, and this is usually when I learn what the painting is about. I have always been a figurative painter, however, I do not like knowing all the dimensions of the work. At a point I set it down to give space for the audience. In this way, I think the painting can function as a port for the individual, and the individual, as opposed to the collective, is my concern. If people look at my paintings and think about their life, their place in the world and what that means to them, then I consider my painting a success.
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Painting's False Teeth: An Interview with Zach Eichelberger by SCOTT GLEESON