Web/Zen Paintings

A project for the web by Stephen Seemayer


Seemayer works on small studies included in Web/Zen exhibition.

The 14 Web/Zen paintings were made specifically for w3art.com. The paintings are all 4-7/8" x 3-3/8", and they should be viewed at that size.

Seemayer working on large Zen painting.

Artist's Statement

I began to explore interacting with the painted surface when I created 1,450 small canvases that were laid out on the ground at a 1994 exhibition. The imagery included fire, galaxies, sperm, explosions and skulls that were painted using stencils and templates. Thousands of people reacted differently to the floor-bound paintings than they would have had the same work been hung, more traditionally, on walls. Some of the viewers refused to walk on the paintings and edged cautiously around the work. Others removed their shoes and walked slowly and carefully across the paintings, attentively examining the individual canvases. Other people trampled the work and kicked it about. In museums, works of art are protected by guards, frames and rules. With my paintings spread out on the floor, their preciousness was subjective. I further developed the ideas in the "prayer rug" paintings shown in two subsequent exhibitions, in which canvases, sharing a dominant butterfly-shaped image, were arranged on the floor like a type of patchwork quilt. The butterfly shape was created when I, sitting in a lotus position, traced the outline of my legs and body directly onto the canvas with paint. These works, when laid out on the gallery floor, invite the viewer to sit on them meditatively, once again subverting the paintings' status as rarefied objects. With this series of 14 Web/Zen paintings, I wanted to do site-specific work. The paintings should be viewed on the Web site at actual size. The viewer can see the surface of the canvas and the different cloth textures as well as the painted strokes. The imagery is again the lotus, butterfly shape overlaid on symbolic and biomorphic shapes.

-Stephen Seemayer, Los Angeles,California, 1996

Web/Zen Paintings

Web/Zen Painting # 1, 1996

Web/Zen Painting # 2, 1996

Web/Zen Painting # 3, 1996

Web/Zen Painting # 4, 1996

Web/Zen Painting # 5, 1996

Web/Zen Painting # 6, 1996

Web/Zen Painting # 7, 1996

Web/Zen Painting # 8, 1996

Web/Zen Painting # 9, 1996

Web/Zen Painting # 10, 1996

Web/Zen Painting # 11, 1996

Web/Zen Painting # 12, 1996

Web/Zen Painting # 13, 1996

Web/Zen Painting # 14, 1996


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