The Robin Rice Gallery is pleased to present, Botswana, Zack Seckler’s first photographic exhibition. The opening reception will be held Wednesday, January 15th 2014 from 5:30pm to 8:30pm.
In Botswana, Zack Seckler captured the boundless, raw beauty of Africa as seen from less than 500 feet above ground. From this vantage point, the animals, vegetation and salt ponds appeared magical. “As an artist, the experience was visceral and life changing.”
Through his unique perspective, vistas once invisible to those on the ground or in a jetliner above are captured in exquisite detail. As he soars over the wildlife and its surrounding beauty, the earth deconstructs into parts and shapes and we see the subtle, aesthetic moments within the iconic landscapes. This rare view enabled Seckler to create images that are simultaneously familiar and unfamiliar.
“Being above the ground at such low elevations, and having the ability to precisely maneuver, was like gliding over an enormous painting and being able to create brushstrokes at will.” Seckler’s opportunity to create Botswana followed a 2009 commission in the same region. He was given unfettered access to an ultra-light aircraft and expert pilot. “As soon as I saw the landscape from above I knew there was potential to create a special body of work.”
Seckler describes each frame as having its own story—stories in the movements of zebras and cows and the delicate footprints they leave behind, feelings in the rippled water and vibrant vegetation. The journey into his photographic safari is one of muted hues and expertly composed compositions. As you enter the gallery, the arresting 30” x 40” images are placed against white walls contrasted by milky green beneath the chair rails. The design is intended to mimic the color of the water in Seckler’s images, and invites the viewer to walk through a virtual knee-height pool. Photographs of animals in their natural habitat line the sidewalls, while the back wall of the gallery is dominated by a massive vegetation image “Okavango Swirl 2010”, adding drama to the installation.
In the invitational image, “Botswana Bath,” black stripes of four zebras pop against the contrast of milky water and brilliant green moss. Tiny waves create symmetrical patterns, appearing like perfect brushstrokes. The soft color palette re-imagines the African landscape into something ethereal, giving it a whimsical, fairytale quality. In “Wanderlust,” we’re presented with an aerial view of a lone cow basking in a body of milky-green water, and all is serene.
Seckler’s inspiration comes in many forms. From serendipitous moments on the streets of New York to the paintings of de Chirico and Magritte, “Anything that enables me to see the world differently can imbue creativity.”
Zack Seckler was born in Boston and took to his craft after graduating from Syracuse University in 2003. He later moved to New York City and began a career in photojournalism that took him around the world covering stories for the international media. He eventually found creating the images themselves, rather than documenting them, was far more fulfilling. This move translated to working with commercial clients such as the Gap, Samsung, and Starbucks. His numerous international awards include the Communication Arts Photo Annual three times since 2007, IPA 1st Place in Digital Enhancement 2009 and the PDN Photo Annual 2010. His work can be found in Harper’s BAZAAR, Marie Claire and New York Magazine, to name a few. Today he lives with his wife and young son in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.