Underlying Messages: Paintings by Ilana Zweschi

May 8 – June 26, 2023

“I target destructive texts—official or influential words that have harmful repercussions on a mass scale. Then I disempower the messages in these texts by transforming them into paintings through handwritten algorithms. I input the raw data of the text into the algorithm, run it through a series of “if/then” rules I assign based on the structure and grammar of the written words, and receive an output of painterly actions. Each letter of the text corresponds to one individual brush stroke, guiding its path and color.

– Ilana Zweschi


Sensitization_Oli-on-canvas_36x48-inches_2021_3000.jpgWords are powerful. How we use them can cause confusion, misunderstanding, or harm as easily as love, empathy, and joy. Clarifying meaning and intention through wordplay is at the heart of Jeeves Takes a Bow. Claiming and disempowering is how Ilana Zweschi transforms the words she encounters in powerful language ranging from bills to pop culture.

When I first discovered her work on the website for Linda Hodges Gallery, I was drawn to them by their seemingly abstract forms, reminiscent of Art Deco curves and patterns, the period in which Jeeves Takes a Bow is set. What I didn’t realize until I visited her studio was that these were complex representations of the control she enlists over harmful words that were written to reinforce devastating hierarchies. These patterns – which, on the surface mimic the Deco designs that, in turn, reference jazz music – are ripe with underlying meaning. What we do see is active and linear, bold with color, and vibrant with movement. What we don’t see is a story intending to take power away from words of harm that sought to belittle or objectify or redefine those seen as other.



Ilana Zweschi is an artist working in Seattle. In 2011 she graduated summa cum laude from Skidmore College as an art major/mathematics minor and earned an MFA in painting from SUNY Albany in 2014. She is currently represented by Linda Hodges Gallery in Seattle and is an instructor at Cornish College of the Arts. Zweschi has exhibited her works nationally, is part of the Meta and Microsoft art collections, and received the DASH artist grant for 2022. Notable group shows include Tiger Strikes Asteroid in New York and Museum of Museums in Seattle. Her work has been published in New American Paintings, a Youngspace interview, and featured on the opening page of the Culture section of the Seattle Met in 2020.

All works in the exhibition are available unless marked by a red dot. Please contact Linda Hodges Gallery for more information, lhodges@lindahodgesgallery.com, (206) 624-3034.- Gina Cavallo, Curator, Director of Development, Taproot Theatre