In a new show at Copro Gallery in Santa Monica, Chet Zar revisits the classic baddies of pop culture with the show “Villains.” Just as he does in his art, the artist is able to tether his fascination with the dark and dystopic to art history. “I am interested in the villain archetype as a subject matter,” Zar tells us. “I always have been fascinated by them and I thought it would be fun to do my own take on some. Every great story has a great villain. They are just as important as the heroes. In fact, they create the opportunity for heroes. But more to the point, I just think villains are more interesting and fun to think about. I mean, which part of the Bosch’s ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’ triptych do people talk about? ‘The Garden of Eden’ or ‘The Last Judgement’? I think it’s at the core of what Dark Art is all about- dark imagery is just more fun and interesting to explore.”
Zar is an artist known for crafting his own creatures and insidious characters. (Zar was last mentioned on HiFructose.com here, in a show of such works.) When asked what it’s like to work with existing templates, Zar maintains that “it’s actually a little easier to have some parameters to work within,” he says. “That might come from my days working as a creature designer in the film industry … But I actually like having a basic set of boundaries for a show. It kind of narrows things down and helps you to focus on what is important as well as keeping you from going off the rails.”
Under the “Villains” umbrella are four mini shows by Dos Diablos, Amandine Urruty, Shane Pierce, and Magpie Rodgers. That idea initially came because of scheduling conflicts, but Zar also says he’s a longtime fan of those other artists. “I think everybody in this show really compliments each other,” he tells us. “None of our work looks the same but it also doesn’t feel out of place to be showing together in the same show. And since we all tend to do darker work, the ‘Villains’ idea fit very well!”
ar’s work in the show is housed in a custom frame, as seen below. “Villains” runs Oct. 13-Nov. 3 at the gallery.