Associate Professor of Art
Bill Zack earned his BFA in Interior Design and his MFA in Design/Painting at Northern Illinois University. As described by Professor Zack, “I am strongly attracted to the theatre, and approach each piece as a stage upon which the content is presented. Some aspects of my visual imagery carry implied connotations, which can serve to extend interpretation beyond the suggested or obvious, such as the figure as a puppet, or veiled architectural implications of shrine, door, or window. The idea of the marionette, or puppet, has more recently taken center-stage as a focal point of most of my pieces. As symbols, these figures work well with the mechanical aspect of the work as well as true conveyors of the intent of each piece. The figures can be wildly expressive or passive and add to the humanistic themes.
My academic training is in architectural design, painting, and decorative arts history. Exploring these disciplines has rendered a very machine-like quality to much of my work. At times this lends a visually interesting focus to my compositions, but I also see this as a distraction, which requires tempering. Working with mixed media allows more flexibility in the use of color and texture, which, I believe, softens the mechanical edge. My greatest joy is in creating compositions that are technically and contextually balanced.
Formally, most of this work focuses on surface materials and texture. I am drawn to the inherent qualities in wood, metal, and pigmented resin for their richness and color. Applied surfaces are rendered to appear naturally formed or accidental, respectively. Although I control the paint, color, and texture, the finish is not wholly ‘designed’ or patterned. Color is often chosen for content (symbolic) and/or to balance aspects of the composition, but is not intended as a dynamic element in the work.”