Zezam is a smaller, later version of Writing on the Wall. Zezam is a dancing, celebratory painting, balancing against Writing on the Wall’s more iconic status.
By the time of ReeL’s solo exhibition at the Morris Graves Museum of Art, Writing on the Wall, often referred to as Wall, had become a very popular signature piece. It was felt that this painting fit in with the other work and the concept of the Morris Graves Museum exhibition which was about trying to highlight some of the connections with the earlier painters from the Seattle area that had influenced ReeL when he was a teenager, painters that were represented in the museum’s collection, in particular, Morris Graves and Mark Tobey’s White Writing paintings. These connections were pointed out and described eloquently by the art critic, Jae Carlsson [Art Dish, ArtForum] at a talk at the Morris Graves Museum during the exhibition.
However, Wall was not available for exhibition at the time of the Morris Graves Museum of Art show, so Zezam was included instead, which worked out well on all points. Zezam is lighter, like its title, and has a brightness that fit in with the works on paper in the show. It also worked well with another canvas that was already in the show and the two served as the anchor to the exhibition, and were hung on their own wall.