Every day, the world loses people. Some are famous, many are not famous at all. Either way, most of those people will be remembered fondly by the members of their lives who are left behind.

This will undoubtedly be the case for New York-based artist Michael Zwack, whose life was claimed on May 5th 2017 by lung cancer at the age of 67. While the man himself may be gone, his artistic legacy unquestionably remains.

Born in Buffalo in 1949, Zwack studied sculpture at the State University of New York. He went on to cofound the Hallwalls Art Centre with Robert Longo, Cindy Sherman and Charlie Clough. With these artists, along with many others, Zwack made a significant name for himself as part of the Pictures Generation. These artists created their work in response to the vivid imagery of the 1970s.

As a part of this movement, Zwack created the bulk of his artistic output while based in New York City, where he remained for most of his life. His prolific outpouring includes richly layered imagery, predominantly featuring oceans and seascapes. In the 1990s, as a result of an encounter with Haitian Voodoo traditions, a notably spiritual element was interwoven throughout his work.

Other pieces in Zwack’s eclectic range include a series of artworks featuring a set of line-based symbols and letter-based imagery. An example includes Red Line (2013), featuring the titular red lines in a variety of representations, some of which resemble the kind of structures on which one would expect to play a game of Noughts and Crosses.

Zwack’s art was included in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Pictures Generation Survey 2009. It was also featured in Metro Pictures and Paul Kasmin Gallery, ensuring that fans of his work will be able to appreciate his talents long after his demise.

Zwack’s life may well have tragically met its end. His artwork, however, is sure to live on, as will his reputation as an artist who influenced a Generation.

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Luke Mayo has completed an English degree at University Campus Suffolk. Working in English has given him an interest in writing, and he is keen to pursue this in his career. His experience in journalism includes his contributions to the online blog for Youth Employment UK. He has also written extensively for the Pop My Mind creative community and is currently writing for the Inspiring Interns Blog.

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