Oranje Slice: Painter Jason Zickler evokes The Dead 

If you find yourself convinced that you see the face of Jerry Garcia in the Jason Zickler's abstract paintings, you wouldn't be the first. But the former Grateful Dead front man isn't the only musician who people see in Zickler's work.

One night Zickler posted a picture of a painting in progress to the web — a painting that he had been composing while listening to Miles Davis. A friend of the painter's, after seeing that composition online, claimed to see the jazzman's face in it.

"People don't want to connect with feelings, they want to connect with faces or landscapes," says Zickler who calls his work "an organic synthesis of complex internal emotions combined with the physical act of painting."

But perhaps — just perhaps — Zickler had transcribed to canvas his feeling about the jazzman and his music so well that his friend was clued into the painting's artistic inspiration.

And some of his recent work is reminiscent of a particular landscape — seascape might be a better word — surrounding the historic town of Loreto, in Baja, California, where Zickler had a studio and gallery from 2007 to 2010. (He currently lives in downtown Indy with his wife and two small children.) While you can't see the form of the desert and sea in his work, you might get that feeling in your mind by absorbing the vivid palettes.

And even if the colors in his paintings don't specifically denote the sea and the setting sun, the sand he incorporates in such paintings can't help but give them at least the texture of the beach.

Many of Zickler's paintings have a particular look; there's often a rainbow-banded effect you see involving many colors, as if he's capturing oil on water in direct sunlight, and a reflective sheen due to his use of epoxy resin over acrylic. Such effects often inspire conversations among the businessmen who gaze up at his large-scale paintings in the boardrooms and lobbies where they hang.

With his paintings in demand in the Indy business community, they are fetching a high price point. But Oranje will give Zickler the chance to showcase some of his smaller — and more affordable — compositions. Visit his website at www.jasonzickler.com.


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Dan Grossman

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