Bread & Butter

Mike Zimmerman

March 2 - April 27, 2022

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Flynn Fine Art is pleased to present Bread & Butter by artist and illustrator Mike Zimmerman. By focusing on the reciprocal nature of color and form Zimmerman transforms chaotic layers of hard-edged, abstract shapes into lyrical compositions. These nine still lifes are imbued with a heightened sense of reverence for the more fundamental objects that take up space in our lives: our dying plants; an open window; discarded wrappers; an apple core; melted candles; etc. Much like their subject matter these paintings are intended to be lived with over time, inviting viewers to find joy in the entropy that generally surrounds these objects.

There is a kind of potential energy behind these paintings. Potted plants frame the low-angle view of Big Can: a Nike sneaker pokes out, its black and white shape balancing an earth-toned basketball and the cool blue of a crumpled can of Arizona Iced Tea; the cigarettes scattered on the ground belie a hasty situation. Bread and Butter #2 brings the viewer to a classic vignette, a tablescape replete with a jug, a loaf of bread, a stick of butter and a spreading knife perched on a small plate, ready for use. Fountain #2 is a collection of fountain plants on display in checkerboard pots; a glass of water is positioned so as to refract and complicate the simple pattern. These more representational canvases are in contrast to the highly abstracted compositions of EZ Now, Freed Weeds and Built to Wilt that each require the viewer to sift through layers of visual conundrum to arrive at a final, subtle image.

Hovering in a space between mimesis and symbolism, Zimmerman’s paintings simultaneously construct and deconstruct our visual experience as metaphor to contemporary living and consumer culture. Asking each viewer to comprehend his subject (their scattered and used belongings) from a new perspective, the artist narrates a world only suggestive of a human presence, where plentitude and decline exist in uncomfortable parallel. Ultimately these paintings seek to understand the way in which we inhabit our contemporary selves—our physical, mental and emotional environments—and how methodologies of understanding lack fullness without counterpart.


Mike Zimmerman (b. 1982) is a painter and illustrator currently living in Oregon. Zimmerman has shown nationally and internationally, with recent solo exhibitions including Heavy Pour at Forage Space, NYC; All Good All the Time at Feels NYC; and, Vans House Parties at House of Vans, Illinois. Group exhibitions include Pot Shop at Ed Varie, New York; Fantasy 12 at The Copper House in Dublin, Ireland; Head Shop at Secret Project Robot, Brooklyn; Permanent Summer at Civilian Art Projects, Washington, D.C.; Print About Me at the Green Box, Turin and SuperGround, Milan, Italy; People of Print at Beach Gallery, London; and, Druck Berlin Festival at Stattbad, Berlin. Zimmerman has also collaborated on a number of murals and projects for organizations such as Vans, Converse, Beggars Group, Yale, and WNYC. With a long history working with celebrated musicians, Mike has also contributed album art for the likes of Kim Gordon, Tune-Yards, Yo La Tengo, Kurt Vile, and Princess Nokia.

© flynn fine art 2021