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My work is a hybrid of drawing, painting and collage, and involves the collection and appropriation of images and words from various ephemera, such as photographs, documents and film. I scour various sources and look for tropes that have traditionally held a great deal of significance in people’s minds. I am interested in de-contextualizing these images in order to complicate understanding.
I combine methods of drawing and painting that are inspired both by the Old Masters as well as contemporary graphic novel illustration. These methods reflect my interest in blending traditional techniques and mediums with newer ones in contemporary practice.
Conceptually, blank backgrounds serve to obliterate any sense of time or place. I see the work as existing in a Theater of the Absurd where the reading of any meaning becomes extremely difficult. The figures in the work exist as characters without context. Sometimes, I blend serious subjects with dark humor in order to further remove the images from their original intentions.
I see this work as existing in a state of irony and tension within the human mind. As meaning seekers, we constantly look for meaning, yet it is increasingly difficult to find any in the post-postmodern world. We are told many “truths” that are intentionally separated from context in order to sway our thinking. Under the Sun is meant to be a reflection of this reality.
Zina Mussmann was born in Milwaukee, WI and received a BFA in Painting and Drawing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2002 and an MFA in Painting at Northern Illinois University in 2008. Zina has exhibited nationally in cities including Milwaukee, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Sacramento, Eugene, and Chicago. Currently, Zina is the Co-Director of greymatter, an artist-run initiative that she established in 2011 with Rachel Quirk.