My work is about trying to open people’s eyes to the world around them however futile the endeavor. – Joseph Zito
Lennon, Weinberg, Inc. presents Not Even the Saints Can Help, an exhibition by Joseph Zito.
Joseph Zito views the world as a dangerous place. The routine of our day-to-day lives can be interrupted by the most terrible events. Some are sudden and unforeseen, while others are gradual and inevitable. Wars and natural disasters may take place at a distance but can be as keenly felt as an intimate tragedy. This is the third of a trilogy of exhibitions since 2005 in which Zito addresses a pervasive sense of unease, anxiety and sorrow.
All the works in the current exhibition relate to a single massive construction. Two years ago Zito embarked on a project to build a sculpture in the form of a boat. He studied structural plans, made measurements, drawings and a model, and readied himself to build on a larger scale. Along the way, he made delicate watercolors, printed impressions and powdered chalk drawings that record his process and are included in the exhibition.
Untitled (for Jamie), 2010, at eight by ten by thirty feet, relates to the dimensions of the gallery’s main room and was realized as a carcass stopped short of becoming a seaworthy vessel. Fully constructed in his studio, it was taken apart and reassembled in the gallery where it is accompanied by a projected image of heavy weather at sea. The far end of the gallery, normally flooded with light from above, is darkened and draped in violet, a color associated with mourning and penance.
Does Zito’s boat represent the possibility or the impossibility of safety? Is it an ark? It might be a lifeboat, a coffin or a memorial, but it surely is, as are H. C. Westermann’s “deathships, ” a vessel for expression of indescribable things. The title of the exhibition, Not Even the Saints Can Help, a line from the Vittorio DeSica film The Bicycle Thief, conveys despair at the same time as it hints at acceptance.
A 46-page catalog documents this and the two previous exhibitions Zito has presented at Lennon, Weinberg’s current location: Et Plus Bellum (2005) and Tomorrow The Birds Will Sing (2007). Zito, born in Brooklyn in 1957, has shown his sculptures and works on paper in exhibition in New York and elsewhere since the late 1980s. This is his fifth solo exhibition at Lennon, Weinberg.