Art has the extraordinary ability to transcend the boundaries of time and culture, speaking to the human experience in a universal language. Iris van Zanten, a Dutch artist born in 1971, using her unique blend of techniques and a deep appreciation for the nuances of human emotion to craft artworks that are nothing short of captivating.
In the realm of Iris van Zanten’s artistry, every stroke of the brush, every pigment applied to the canvas, is a quest for the essence of her subjects. Her work is a testament to the power of art in capturing the most genuine expressions in faces and gestures. With an unwavering commitment to finding the most effective means of expression, Iris has developed her own distinctive mixed media technique that combines pure pigments, ink, acrylics, and unconventional materials like copperleaf and malachite.
To initiate her artistic process, she meticulously prepares the canvas surface with a blend of sand, bone glue, and Van Dyck brown. This foundational layer not only provides texture but also serves as a solid anchor for the pigments that follow. The sand, in particular, lends a unique quality to her work, giving the pigments a certain hold that adds depth and character to her creations.
One of the defining aspects of Iris’s artistic journey is her commitment to continuous growth and exploration. She acknowledges the importance of life drawing sessions as a source of inspiration and a valuable practice ground for capturing the subtleties of gestures and emotions. These sessions are not only a means of honing her technical skills but also a wellspring of storytelling potential that she weaves into her artworks.
One of Iris van Zanten’s recent artworks, “A Touch of Cu2CO3(OH)2,” is a testament to her unwavering dedication to her craft. This exquisite painting, measuring 60 x 40 cm, was created in 2023 using pigments, ink, acrylics, copperleaf, and malachite on wood. The title itself is a nod to the chemical compound for malachite, a precious pigment used in the artwork.
Iris found her muse in the works of Artemisia Gentileschi, a Baroque painter known for her powerful portrayals of women. In particular, she was drawn to the serene expressions and earthy tones found in Gentileschi’s paintings. Iris’s meticulous attention to detail is evident in her choice of pigments, which include green earth, unburned sienna, burnt umber, and ochre. These earthy hues are masterfully combined with the precious malachite pigment to create a harmonious composition.
The use of malachite pigment, a vibrant green mineral, adds an element of luxury and opulence to the artwork, contrasting beautifully with the earth tones. It’s a bold move that reflects Iris’s willingness to experiment and push the boundaries of her craft. “A Touch of Cu2CO3(OH)2” is a sublime fusion of tradition and innovation, paying homage to the old masters while firmly establishing Iris as a contemporary artist of her skills.
Iris van Zanten’s artwork is a symphony of color and emotion, a testament to her ability to capture the very essence of her subjects. The choice of colors in her paintings is never arbitrary; each hue is carefully selected to convey the depth of feeling and mood she wishes to evoke. It’s a language of color that transcends words, allowing viewers to connect with the emotions expressed on the canvas.
Iris van Zanten’s artistic journey is a testament to the enduring power of creativity and the ability of art to speak to the soul. Her unwavering commitment to capturing the essence of human emotion and expression through her unique blend of techniques sets her apart as a different contemporary artist. “A Touch of Cu2CO3(OH)2” is just one of many artworks that showcase her vision.