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Self-Portraits by Isaiah Zagar

Posted on March 20 2016


Paradigm Gallery + Studio presents:
"77": an exhibition of self-portraits by Isaiah Zagar
March 25, 2016 - April 16, 2016

Isaiah Zagar’s 77 explores the influences of time, location, and medium on self-portraiture. The award-winning mosaic artist has long been inspired by the world around him, from the Philadelphia community he’s vastly influenced to places like China and South America.

77 is an intimate depiction of Zagar’s life as an artist, exploring and examining the physical and emotional space he existed within while completing each portrait. Only one piece is made of Zagar’s signature mosaics; as a whole, the portraits are a reflection of where he was and who he was with, evident in pieces like his Chinese brush painting.

The exhibit bridges the events of Zagar’s 77 years on this earth—and perhaps even the lives before this one—and demonstrates the artistic might behind his long, influential career.

Opening Reception
Friday, March 25th • 5:30pm - 10:00pm

Exhibition Hours
Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays • 12:00pm – 6:00pm
And 7 days a week by appointment: / (267)266-0073

Paradigm Gallery + Studio / 746 S. 4th Street, 1st Floor / Philadelphia, PA 19147

Social Media
Instagram: @ParadigmGS / @IsaiahZagar 
Twitter: @ParadigmGS

Please email if you would like to receive additional press images and information about this exhibition or if you would like to be added to the collector preview list.



About the Artist
Isaiah Zagar is an award-winning mosaic mural artist whose work can be found on more than 200 public walls throughout the city of Philadelphia and around the world. Born in Philadelphia and raised in Brooklyn, Zagar received his B.F.A. in Painting & Graphics at the Pratt Institute of Art in New York City. When he was 19 years old, Zagar discovered the folk art installations of Clarence Schmidt in Woodstock, New York. Influenced by Schmidt, Picasso, Jean Debuffet, Kurt Schwitters, Antonio Gaudi, Simon Rodia and Joseph Ferdinand Cheval, he was inspired to include the concepts of untrained artists as manifestations of fine art.

Zagar’s artwork is heavily influenced by his travels and the personal connections he has made with international folk and visionary artists. Isaiah and his wife Julia completed three years of Peace Corps service in Peru in the mid-1960s, working with folk artists in the Puno region near Lake Titicaca. Soon after, they settled in Philadelphia and began their lifelong work of creating public art and fostering creativity in all its varied forms.

In addition to his three-year Peace Corps service in Peru, Isaiah has completed artist residencies in Tianjin, China, and Rajasthan, India. He also participated in a residency at the Kohler Co. Pottery Foundry in Wisconsin.

Zagar’s work is included in the permanent collections of numerous art institutions, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and has been featured in solo exhibitions throughout the Philadelphia area. Zagar has received grants for his artistic excellence from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pew Charitable Trusts for his work in Interdisciplinary Arts.

Isaiah Zagar has gained recognition in various films and publications, most notably in the 2008 documentary, In A Dream, created by his son, Jeremiah Zagar. He has spoken at several prominent conferences and artists’ lectures both domestically and internationally. Through 40+ years of creating artwork on a grand, public scale, Zagar has helped shape Philadelphia into a thriving creative community.


Please email if you would like to be added to the collector preview list for this exhibition.