As canvas is the essential factor for a work of art, the capacity of the material is not normally tested. The painting or sketch sits atop its surface creating the representation and perspective, the main feature. Artists rarely push the extent of the canvas, merely using it for the purpose it provides as the foundation for their expression. However, Zak Prekop creates work that challenges the purely visual qualities of the canvas.
His large works, some eight feet high, recently shown at Shane Campbell Gallery in Chicago, test the extent to which the material is utilized. Much like other abstractionists before him, namely Color Field Painters, Prekop uses layers of saturation to paint his canvases. However, Prekop also creates a layered look by painting the backs of his canvases. These faint lines, colors, and shapes create an eerie layer that provides impossible depth when looking at the facade.
This technique is then furthered by painting atop the surface of the canvas to further the illusionistic quality of the piece. With the additional layers, the piece has a striking contrast between soft and hard lines. Subtle, amorphous shapes lay under firm, strict blobs. Diluted hues encompass bold, swathes of color, tricking the eye at moments and clarifying others. Saturation of the canvas usually provides deep color that the eye sinks into and this is no exception. The illusion of the work relies on the technique, but the color choice and placement allows the work to stand alone.
As a continuous exploration for Prekop, he has fully utilized saturation techniques and evolved its application by only adding to the infinite depth with his additional layers. This evolved sense of space within the canvas advances its use as merely the backdrop.