In her work Van Zeijl makes new beauty statements. She puts her own artful stamp on female beauty ideals, showing that role models still have an immense influence. They are still present,
powerful, meaningful and timeless.
Van Zeijl creates timeless icons of beauty like Venus, the Roman goddess of love, reminiscent of Botticelli’s 15th-century Birth of Venus. Van Zeijl impersonated the goddess. She surrendered comfort, mobility, proximity and even her own identity for the sake of art. She embodied the pain and tragedy that lie behind the pretty picture. The poses are inspired by 15th century paintings, but also by glossy fashion images. Even though a shoot can easily take an entire day it is only the start of the artistic process. It’s like preparing the canvas. The real work, that Van Zeijl calls ‘my form of painting’, takes place
behind the computer.
Postproduction is a rigorous pixel by pixel affair. Filters are applied to invoke a historical patina reminiscent of Old Master paintings. Skin tone is often heightened and becomes reminiscent of translucent porcelain. Body shapes are morphed to the point of careful emphasis, while keeping freakishness at bay. After all that the women depicted may actually be
collages of two, three or even more
different pictures. Doubling as her own model Van Zeijl is both subject and object, creator and creation. On set she acts out roles, evoking different types of women; archetypes actually. Underneath all this lurks an autobiographical layer. The images ooze sensuality, but Van Zeijl also looks resilient and feisty. She’s not an empty, pretty shell. Her beauty is rather a universally recognizable mask that only partially hides the story beneath.