Winter Solstice Reception at Eugene Binder this Friday

MARFA, Texas. – Everyone is cordially invited to the annual Winter Solstice reception held at Eugene Binder this Friday evening, December 23, from 6-8pm.

Winter solstice is the shortest day of the year, occurring this year on Wednesday at 4:44am, based on the Gregorian calendar. The event at Binder celebrates the widening arc of the sun 62 hours and 16 minutes later as it moves toward the Vernal Equinox. The earth’s axis is also in motion, moving in a wobbling, elliptical pattern that is completed once every 26,000 years. The celebration at Binder will also include the 24,986th year of this phenomenon.

Exhibitions by Richard Shaffer and Zeke Williams will also be featured:

The Richard Shaffer exhibition Zugzwang, the title of which is a reference to a dilemma in a chess game where one participant cannot move without compromise, regardless of the choices available. Shaffer widens the meaning to include the dilemma that early twentieth century artist Marcel Duchamp faced, choosing to play chess and confront this dilemma on a conceptual basis rather than continue making art (what could later be termed conceptual art) in a physical manifestation.

An important aspect of Duchamp’s work in the early teens and nineteen twenties were what Duchamp referred to as “readymades,” beautifully made objects that were made and used for every day, utilitarian purposes such as a bottle drying rack or a chocolate grinder. These objects no longer exist in that their uses have been replaced by possibly more efficient but considerably less elegant solutions.

Finding himself confronting a similar situation, Shaffer approaches the problem from a completely different perspective, engaging in the process of making “readymades” that are not in fact ready made, in that they were made by the artist, and therefore might be described as non-ready made. The tautology between Shaffer’s work and Marcel Duchamp (unbeknownst to him at the time) ushering in what in the late twentieth century is known as “post modernist irony,” becomes in a way anthetical to Shaffer’s work but yet an important aspect in the conceptual process of his art making.

Zeke Williams’ “black” paintings could easily be evocative of the Kazimir Malevich painting Black Square, the first of four made beginning in 1915, a little over one hundred years before the opening of “Rainbow” by Mr. Williams this Friday evening. Malevich considered himself a theorist and with the creation of Black Square he achieved what he referred to as the “zero point of painting,” and in retrospect he, perhaps unknowingly, created the point of departure for contemporary works of art are now referred to as “minimalist” made a half century later.

The two similarities between both artists’ work is quite obvious: the paintings are rectangular and black. In terms of the Zeke Williams paintings, closer inspection reveals a subtle undulation of compositional elements, floating just beneath the beautifully masked surface that Williams skillfully uses to achieve nuances of light and depth intensity perceived as rolling cross-currents beneath a surface that is constantly in motion.

Although at cross purposes with Malevich’s intention and conceptual goals of creating the Black painting of 1915, Zeke Williams is acutely aware of his early twentieth century historical predecessor even as he allows the aspect of painting, i.e. making imagery that constantly shifts between the ambiguity of abstract and representational elements, to dominate the pictorial “black” rectangle that Malevich so courageously defined a century earlier.

Eugene Binder will be open Thursday through Saturday from 11am-5pm and by appointment or by chance. Please call 432.729.3900 or email

ZEKE WILLIAMS, Rainbow (installation view)

ZEKE WILLIAMS, Rainbow (installation view)

RICHARD SHAFFER, Zugzwang Box (detail), 2012, mixed media, 20 x 29 x 5 inches.

RICHARD SHAFFER, Zugzwang Box (detail), 2012, mixed media, 20 x 29 x 5 inches.