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Trajectory of Portable Thoughts – Z’otz* Collective

Exhibition: June 2 to 23, 2023
Vernissage and Artist-guided gallery tour: June 2 at 6 pm
Art Hive with Z’otz* Collective (in-person): June 3, 10:30 am to 1 pm
Workshops with Z’otz* Collective (in person): May 31, 7 to 9 pmJun 1, 4:30 to 6:30 pm 


Toronto-based Z’otz* Collective was founded by three artists with Latin American heritage who meet on a weekly basis to collaborate on drawings, ceramic sculptures, site–specific installations and animation. Drawing is their primary means of expression, which they use to respond to each other and to what surrounds them. This direct approach lets them create idiosyncratic, playful images that touch on themes of migration, transformation and regeneration.

The group’s name Z’otz*comes from the Mayan word for bat, an animal that represented dreaming and intuition in the Mesoamerican world. Their work connects to the storytelling traditions of their roots, with anthropomorphic beings and symbols that transition between the individual and collective dynamic.

Z’otz* uses the niche as a point of departure for their series of wall drawings in the exhibition space. They are intrigued by the niche – traditionally a small shrine or architectural element – as a form that incorporates elements and iconography of cultural hybridity, and as a space to incubate, collect, investigate, and share stories.

* As part of their exhibition programming, Z’otz* will offer two drawing workshops during the five-day period in which they create their in-situ wall drawings in the gallery. Participants will have the chance to become part of a collaborative process with the artists and explore “stream-of-consciousness” drawing. In addition, they will offer an art hive entitled “Drawing with Scissors”, where participants will make ‘drawings’ using paper and scissors to create a collaborative mural installation in the gallery.

Z’otz* Collective is comprised of Nahúm Flores (Honduras), Erik Jerezano (Mexico), and llyana Martínez (Mexico/Canada). Since 2004, they have collaborated on drawings, sculptures, and site–specific installations. They have attended residencies in Croatia and Serbia, where they started working with ceramic sculpture. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts commissioned Z’otz* to create a series of ceramic sculptures for their permanent collection in 2018. The Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art invited the group to participate in a residency to produce work for a solo exhibition in 2022. In conjunction with Art Windsor-Essex, they led a series of experimental drawing workshops with migrant agricultural workers, in Leamington, Ontario last summer. They have received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council. The three members were awarded grants for their individual practices from the Pollock–Krasner Foundation in New York City. Z’otz* Collective has had over 30 solo exhibitions and over 40 group exhibitions in museums, galleries and artist-run centres in Canada, Mexico, USA, Serbia, and China. The Collective recently commenced work in animation, which they integrate into their installation projects.

McClure Gallery thanks the Conseil des arts de Montréal and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec for their financial support.




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