Zachary Fabri

Zachary Fabri’s work examines the spaces where individuals encounter larger systems of categorization and oppression. Fabri uses a variety of media, including drawing, photographs, sculptural objects and performances (often in public, with himself as a protagonist). One strand of Fabri’s practice investigates the performance and consumption of black identity. For the series “Aureola (Black Presidents),” 2012, Fabri photographs black men portraying the U.S. President in feature films, which he streams from his computer screen. The camera’s flash produces a halo effect over the actors’ faces, rendering the figures saintly or otherworldly. Until Barack Obama’s presidency, the trope of a black president was often relegated to fantasy or science-fiction, in situations when the world was in peril. A site-specific black vinyl piece, adhered directly to the wall, elevates an everyday material to the grandeur of painting. The dark material becomes seductively shiny, as well as a mirror — a metaphor for projections about race and identity. Another aspect of Fabri’s practice considers the vulnerability of his own raced, gendered body in domestic or public spaces. As the artist says, “I use my politicized physical body […] but only as the medium of communicating ideas that reach beyond the political, into a psychological space.”

— Wendy Vogel