It would be more than a severe oversight to exclude Chet Zar when discussing macabre, horror, and dark imagery in contemporary fine arts. Zar has made a huge impact on the scene and, while his bread and butter might be his doomy, surreallist oil paintings, these days, he’s actually a multi-disciplined artist with a history that extends to the motion picture industry, where he worked in special effects, makeup, sculpture, and design. Chet has his own highly identifiable aesthetic, which can be seen throughout his creature creation and makeup effects work in films like Planet of the Apes and the Hellboy franchise, as well as in critically acclaimed videos for the band Tool, for whom he’s also produced 3D digital effects at their live shows. So, being such a powerful voice for the dark arts movement, it might come as a surprise that he’s not included on the list of contributors in our preview for tonight’s The 13th Hour group exhibit at New York‘s Last Rites Gallery–a premiere gallery for the genre, one that Zar has worked with on a number of occasions in the past, and for one of the venue’s largest shows of the year. So what’s Chet going to be doing tonight instead? Let’s just say that he’s preoccupied with a minor project of his own.
Ego Death is more than just a solo exhibit for the painter, it’s the biggest public event that he’s thrown in his career to date. Generally, you might expect to find us posting a preview to an opening for a show like this, but the only problem is that, there really isn’t any other show like this. Tonight’s show, held at the Copro gallery in Santa Monica, has actually been running for a full 2 weeks already and, while this has been referred to, at times, as a “second opening,” it’s actually going to be the last night that the artwork will even be on display. Tonight’s event is actually more like an elaborate closing. In fact, it’s even billed on the flyer as a “Funeral and Wake.” And while the references to death are very much symbolic in nature, the funeral aesthetic is being taken quite literally, with the use of everything from a hearse, organ music, a casket, pall bearers, a eulogy, and more being employed to replicate such an environment and make the whole experience as immersive as possible. Zar‘s vision was so ambitious and so involved, that pulling it off wasn’t only going to take a lot of work, but a decent amount of money, as well. To handle the issue of expenses, the artist utilized Kickstarter to successfully crowdfund over $70,000 (nearly $15 thousand more than the original goal).
Here’s that original Kickstarter video, which should be able to explain the whole project much better than I’ll be able to.
From beginning to end, Ego Death is Zar’s biggest show to date and tonight marks the extravagant conclusion, which it has all been building up to. Those who are able to attend, should find this to be one of the most unique and over-the-top exhibits that they’re likely to encounter, anywhere, with the artist pulling out all of the stops and making the most of the loot that he was able to draw in to finance it. The show even has it’s own website, so here is a more thorough explanation with some additional information taking directly from EgoDeathShow.com.
We are doing things a little differently this time regarding the show opening(s), so I thought some clarification was needed.
The Ego Death show will be having two openings- the first one will be on October 12-13th at Barnsdall Municipal Museum in Los Angeles during the Beyond Eden Art Fair.
This will contain the paintings from the Ego Death show, a retrospective of my past work as well as the first preview of the trailer for Mike Correll’s documentary about me and my art, “I Like To Paint Monsters”. This opening will be more of a proper museum show and will NOT include all the props and extras for the show that was mentioned in the Kickstarter pitch video.
After that weekend, the Ego Death paintings will be on view to the public throughout the month of October at Copro Gallery
On Oct 26th we will have the big Ego Death show opening at Copro gallery. This will be the big show! Aside from having all the Ego Death paintings it will also include a Hearse, a funeral procession, a coffin (with Black Magick inside, playing the role of The Ego), a eulogy, a live organ player and tons of other surprises. While the first opening at Bansdall will be a special event in itself, the Copro show will be the big funeral/wake/Halloween party that was mentioned in the Kickstarter pitch video.
Oct 26th is actally the last day of the show and it is technically the closing show but we are billing it as the 2nd opening because it will be the bigger of the two events.
As always, the Copro show is free to the public. Black clothing and/or gothic funeral attire is encouraged. Since we will have an open coffin with Black Magick inside of it, we also encourage people to bring small items to put inside the coffin as offerings to the ego as we send it on it’s way into the great beyond.
Check out a full selection of the paintings in the exhibit after the following event details…
Solo Exhibit of new works by Chet Zar
2nd Opening / Funeral and Wake:
Saturday, October 26th
Copro Gallery –
Bergamot Station Arts Complex
2525 Michigan Ave , Unit T5
Santa Monica , CA 90404
All ages and free to the public
Artist will be in attendance
Black/Funeral-style attire suggested
Official Event Website: http://www.egodeathshow.com/
[click select images to enlarge]
“Ego Mors Sum (I Am Death)”
36″ x 18 ” Oil on canvas
36″ x 18 ” Oil on canvas
“Pure Ego II: Self Doubt/Self Pity”
14″ x 11″ Oil on canvas