Trained as a painter, Zac Skinner also creates functional art — “sculptures that do something” as he describes — that he hopes will become a catalyst for environmental engagement within the viewer.
He has created sculptures that reflect sunlight, harness the energy of the wind, or, in the case of a new work created during his residency, collect rainwater. (Seen above in the image on the left.) “I wanted to create a bamboo and found object structure that embodies a symbiotic relationship between a plant and a human,” he says. “I want to bring geo-engineering ‘down to earth’ in the form of objects that could be in our backyards. We should all be able to harness the resources and energies of nature, which shouldn’t be owned by corporations and venture capitalists.”
Zac has also been spending his residency drawing and painting. “I was a little scared of painting,” he jokes, explaining how he hadn’t painted for a while. But the different disciplines in which he works inform one another. “Painting is helping me visualize an environment for my structures,” he says, referring to paintings he’s creating of the outdoor sculptures. “Even seeing a crude image can help me visualize the structure. And there’s a freedom to painting, like not worrying about gravity,” he says, laughing. “And in the paintings, my sculptures can bend the rules of physics and perception.”