Balint Zsako: Drawings from the Bernardi Collection book release
Toronto artist/illustrator Balint Zsako reached a much-deserved milestone in his burgeoning career this past weekend with the launch of a spiffy new hardcover book, Balint Zsako: Drawings from the Bernardi Collection (of which the drawing at right is one.)
The monograph follows the excellent show of Zsako's work at MOCCA last winter, and comes with a critical essay from the esteemed (and personal favourite) Canadian critic Robert Enright, who, if I'm not mistaken, also edits the excellent Winnipeg-based magazine Border Crossings (free plug: New issue out now!) .
Anyway, not to digress. Zsako has accomplished much in a short time; not yet 30, Zsako's prodigious production of dark, fanciful drawings have earned him acclaim to a growing audience, here and abroad. Zsako recently moved to New York, where a fellow Canadian artist who, like Zsako, works with ink on paper, has enjoyed a rise nothing less than meteoric; and like it or not, Zsako will surely endure comparisons to Winnipeg's Marcel Dzama, the former Royal Art Lodge homebody-turned-New-York-art-world-darling, his entire career.
To be fair, there's an undeniable, ahem, synergy; but where Dzama's work seems to probe the darker side of childlike whimsy, a cutesy nightmare realm that seems ready to tip in either direction, Zsako drifts more naturally into a exploration of the Surreal, in its true, early Modern, European sense, with his fascination with primitivism, sexuality, and the body and nature in his forced re-engagement of the two in ways unimagineable (or at the very least, highly uncomfortable.)
In any case, this is a beautiful, slim volume, produced by MOCCA, of an artist at the beginning of what promises to be an enduring career. You can get it at Art Metropole, in person or online, or at MOCCA itself. And I think I saw it at Amazon.com, but don't do that, OK?