Ephemeral Worlds

The art of Holly Zandbergen
Jul 9 to Jul 30

Fleeting, dynamic, transitory… painter Holly Zandbergen has captured the ever-shifting light of the South Island fiords as never before.

The New Zealand artist’s diptych Fiordland is part of her new show Ephemeral Worlds, a dreamy combination of large-scale landscapes and floral works.

“Flowers are ephemeral,” says the Christchurch-based painter, “as is the light and atmosphere in the landscape.”

This is Zandbergen’s second solo exhibition at Black Asterisk, following her botanicals-inspired Compositions of Nature series in 2018. In 2019 she was chosen as the gallery’s feature artist at the Auckland Art Fair. She also presented her second successful solo show Touch, at the Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery in London.

Despite her naturalistic style, Zandbergen’s grandness of vision extends beyond the photographic, reflecting the changing essence of light, depending on the day, the season, and the contrast of shadow and light unique to our atmosphere.

Applying oil to canvas using the impasto method is for Zandbergen an instinctive and meditative experience in which speed, force and motion result in endless possibilities. Her landscapes have drawn admiration for their richly textured brushwork.

Meanwhile, her floral pieces, far from hackneyed garden scenes, “exhibit a freedom of colour and gestural handling that one associates with late Monet”, according to Art New Zealand. “Zandbergen paints fluently with an intense pleasure in her task… it all seems effortless, as if she creates her works like a bird singing its song – something joyous and spontaneous.”

  • Michael Dunn, Art New Zealand, Winter, 2018.

Ephemeral Worlds marks an important next step in Zandbergen’s career, one which has blossomed internationally in recent years. Since graduating from the Dunedin School of Art in 2013, she has exhibited in London, New York, Toronto, Seattle, and her hometown of Timaru. 

In 2015, she was named Best Young Artist at the National Open Art Competition at London’s Royal College of Art. She was also the winner of the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award at Otago Polytechnic in Dunedin.

“No matter which subject I am painting, I am still interested in the idea of how form exists in space, how this can be experimented with through paint application and how colour can create a sensory experience for the viewer,” she says.