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Brenda Zlamany, 
Snake #9, 1996.

david ebony's 
new york top ten

Brenda Zlamany
at jessica fredericks
October 19 - November 24, 1996
Brenda Zlamany used to frequent New York's 
morgues, making studies for paintings. 
Unlike other artists inspired by the 
morgue, such as photographer Andres 
Serrano, Zlamany was not so interested in 
the agents of death. She focused instead on 
the formidable vestiges of life that the 
dead manage to retain long after dying. She 
also made eloquent paintings of dead 
animals floating in formaldehyde. But in 
her work, she sought to give her subjects 
new life. In a way, she resurrected them, 
and her work was always life-affirming 
rather than morbid.
It is not surprising that Zlamany 
eventually turned to live models, although 
her approach to the subject matter has not 
changed all that much. On view in her 
excellent show in this Chelsea gallery are 
new paintings of snakes, lovingly portrayed 
in a manner recalling that of great Spanish 
masters like Zubarán. Most are painted 
against dark backgrounds, although a few 
are on colored grounds--my favorite was 
painted against bright red. Zlamany's 
snakes, suspended in an ethereal, abstract 
space, seem to strike a pose, and their 
sleek bodies form elegant calligraphic 
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