Digital layering allows for the representation of physically impossible scenes. I use it to create imaginative spaces through which to examine questions about models of the world and the self. In these works, I recontextualize images from my own digital photographs, combining them with digitally painted/drawn elements and sometimes 3D modelled objects. Using many layers to alter and compose images, I transform their spatial, material, aesthetic, and symbolic qualities.
My practice involves playing with visual experience and is motivated by theoretical questions that emerge. Do objects function as containers for desire? How could beauty be good? How could evil be embodied? How is appropriation different from becoming? What good can come of playing with desire? Often, I return to investigating desire and pleasure, considering how they can be experienced through bodily sensation. As compositions of visual elements with ambiguous and soluble relations, these images provide contexts for reimagining embodiment, environment, nature, desire, sensation, pleasure, strangeness, beauty, sexuality, morality, and utopia.
– Zac Wilson
In a recent exhibition, artist Zac Wilson presents seven digitally layered graphics that represent interior and exterior spaces that physically defy reality. Inspired by various theoretical questions surrounding the manifestation of morality and desire, Wilson’s fabricated spaces immerse viewers in seemingly idealistic, yet peculiar environments created by overlaying digital photographs with graphic paintings, drawings, and 3D modeled objects. In superimposing these very distinct mediums, Wilson plays with a tension between the real and the imaginary, while demonstrating a juxtaposition between objects as inanimate and objects as vessels of human desire. Wilson echoes certain visual motifs such as the king’s crown, instilling continuity amongst pieces and prompting viewers to question the presence of this performative symbol in the context of gender and sexuality. In essence, Wilson’s work offers a window into the complex tension between representation and reality. Wilson writes,
These images provide contexts for reimagining embodiment, environment, nature, desire, pleasure, strangeness, beauty, sexuality, morality, and utopia.
As viewers, we can see these themes reflected across each one of Wilson’s images. These works suggest the façade of appropriation and performance, reminding viewers that what we see is often not always a representation of what is true. In Untitled (Concrete), a window morphs into rocks, while in Untitled (Room), the reflection of a map echoes through a window in a wall, and an enter sign directs viewers beyond the image to an imaginary ATM. This same motif is repeated in Untitled (Church), except as an exit sign, prompting the viewer to wonder what it is that exists beyond the frame. Another motif can be seen in Wilson’s portrayals of the moon (Untitled (Boat), epitomizing the concept of mortality and time, and in turn, representing the fragility of humanity.