Holly Zandbergen, 'compositions of nature'

May 29 2018

‘Holly employs her technique with skill and intent, each stroke, rhythmic and

self informing. She has the ability to pull you deep into the story but to then

bring you up from the depths of paint, so you and your eyes rested upon a

scene, serene and of the moment. You will be forever captured by its simplicity.’

Graham A. Hunter, Graham Hunter Gallery, London, 2016

London, New York, Toronto, Seattle and Timaru are just some of the places Holly Zandbergen paintings have been shown since she graduated from the Dunedin School of Art in 2013 and immediately headed for the United Kingdom. And she’s worked hard for her international success. While based in London, working as an au pair, the 26 year-old who is originally from Timaru, continued to paint, entering her work into various competitions, winning awards – notably the Best Young Artist award at the National Open Art Competition in London in 2015 and being shown at various galleries, including a solo show for the ‘River Series’ at the Graham Hunter Gallery in London. Crucial exposure which bought her to the attention of Rebecca Hossack.

Hossack has two galleries in London and one in New York, in addition to being a regular on the international art fair circuit. Signing with Hossack in 2016 has meant that Zandbergen has gained an impressive amount of off- shore exposure for such a young artist. Proving that talent and tenacity really are a winning formula. Zandbergen who returned to New Zealand in 2016 is now based in Christchurch where she continues to paint and exhibit. Her most recent body of work ‘Compositions of Nature’ will have its first showing at Black Asterisk from June 14th to July 5th.

Landscape has been Holly Zandbergen’s painterly preoccupation over the last few years. Mountains iced with snow, tumbling, murky bodies of water, verdant tracts of native bush and the most recent iteration, flowers in her mother’s garden.

Working in oils and using the impasto method, Zandbergen layers her paint on, she says, by instinct rather than eye, though quite often uses photographs as her starting point. However, the paintings aren’t about capturing a moment in time preserved in its actuality by a photograph, but consolidating the wholeness of her subjects, across the day and the seasons, capturing the ever changing light and shadow, be it on a mountain or a corner of a domestic garden with its cacophony of colour.

Abstract her paintings may be but the subject matter is always instantly recognisable, both visually and viscerally. Lush, richly textured and full of movement, her paintings capture and reveal the essence of her subject matter rather than its specificity allowing the viewer to bring their own experience to the act of seeing.

Below: Emergence, 2015. Oil on canvas.