Jeff Zilm, ‘Haxon’, 2013, TWO x TWO

For roughly 15 years, Zilm has been collecting films to use as his base material. Zilm strips the emulsion off a film he's collected, then mixes the liquefied emulsion with acrylic paint and applies the compound to canvas. Here, the title Haxon references the 1922 Swedish horror film Häxan from which the emulsion is extracted.

Jeff Zilm makes paintings that take the physical properties of film stock as their starting point. For roughly fifteen years, Zilm has been collecting 8mm, 16mm, and 35mm films, which he uses as his base material. Using detergent, Zilm strips the emulsion off a film he's collected, and then mixes the liquefied emulsion with acrylic paint. This compound is then sprayed and brushed onto canvas. Here, the title Haxon references the1922 Swedish horror film Häxan from which the emulsion is extracted. The finished painting possesses a delicate chiaroscuro with subtly modulated blacks and grays. Jeff Zilm lives and works in Dallas. His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at galleries around the world. He has shown his paintings and videos in a number of group shows at venues such as the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; the Dallas Museum of Art; and The Jewish Museum, New York.

About Jeff Zilm

Working primarily with mixed media on canvas, Jeff Zilm deconstructs technology—from the Stone Age to the Information Age—and the act of painting itself. He works in series, focusing on such inventions as Neolithic arrowheads, photography, film, and the Internet. By affixing grainy, black-and-white, iron-on images of arrowheads onto canvases, for example, he highlights their obsolescence while simultaneously toying with the genre of trompe l’oeil painting. In his well-known film-based paintings, he transfers entire films onto canvases by stripping the emulsion off of 16- and 35-mm celluloid prints, dissolving it in acrylic paint, then spraying the mixture onto canvas. Blurred and smoky, the resulting works improbably contain the entire film, its duration, imagery, and coded sound collapsed into a single composition—another aged technology that Zilm both breaks down and imbues with fresh possibility.