Cynthia Zeman

MFA ’20 Fine Arts Low-Residency

I usually paint colorful figures and patterns, collaged and layered to depict my personal narrative and memories. Women, cats, girls, jewels, flowers, and both theatrical and domestic spaces are recurring motifs. As a reaction to the pandemic, I narrowed my palette and began to think about three-dimensional work: objects living in a real space as personal companions amid the loneliness of isolation.

The Anti-quilt grew out of this impulse. It is a covering and comforter; it is both heavy and full of gaps. A quilt would usually hold a narrative of a life, made of fabric meaningful to the maker. The Anti-quilt is simply the framework; the details of  the story are absent.

The resulting quilt is bare, and now needs to be remade and repopulated with multiple interpretations of social and personal narratives, reflecting both the moment it was produced, recognizing the past as part of our lives today, and as a potential site to nurture new growth. 

Cynthia Zeman studied film as an undergraduate at New York University before earning her MFA at MassArt. Her film Phoenix opened for the band King Crimson and won Best Experimental Film at the Houston International Film Festival. She worked on two award-winning independent films, Film for Two and Broadway Damage. Her current work has been shown in Abigail Ogilvy’s Fresh Faces and The Storefront Project of the Boston’s Area Code Art Fair.Her paintings are in collections in New York and Spain.