Isaac Zerkle

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Biography

     Isaac Isaac Zerkle is a printmaker and installation artist based in Boston, MA. Their work centers around land, legacy, and the trans body. They received their BA in Theater Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies from Wellesley College in 2018 and are currently a first year MFA candidate at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University.  

Artist Statement

     I am a queer, trans visual artist creating print media and interactive installations. I primarily use imagery from the natural world, which I distort and recontextualize to create opportunities for viewers to build new relationships with their environment. My work uses the contours of organic objects, from rough pieces of amber, to wave patterns, to the forms of the land itself, to create images which are simultaneously strange and familiar. The shapes represented in my work are recognizable as organic, yet the specific source imagery is rendered illegible through the processes of transfer, erasure, and repetition. 

     In my work, I resist the confines and hierarchies of traditional Western society by removing man-made signifiers of direction, location, and scale. I use these distortions and erasures as a point of entry for my perspectives as a queer trans person into my work. I use the shapes, patterns, and textures of the wild earth in combination with the shapes, patterns, and textures of my body in my work in order to undermine the categorization of my queer, transgender body and experiences as unnatural. Resistance to defining nature and land with traditional Western boundaries becomes resistance to defining human bodies with traditional boundaries. 

     I present my images in a range of settings from artist books to installations in order to engage viewers in multi-sensory experiences. Through these means of presentation, my art becomes a part of viewers’ tactile worlds, instead of remaining in a separate, purely visual realm. I want people to come away from my work with their senses primed for new information. I want to awaken viewers’ awareness of their relationship to the land by merging human and non-human imagery, and use my perspective as a medium through which the natural world can be understood. My goal is to bring my audience into a deeper empathy with their local ecosystems and communities. 

Work Gallery

Baltic Amber, Arboreal Memory #1

2021

Lithograph with hand coloring on BFK Rives

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Walking Home,

The Earth Was Red Beneath My Feet

2021

Steel, jute rope, North Carolina red clay, canvas

:Approximately 8’ x 8’ x 8’

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