The other-worldly beings of
Isabelle van Zeijl
In a contemporary art world that condemns beauty as camouflage for conceptual shallowness, championing high aesthetics is nothing short of rebellion. Van Zeijl takes female beauty ideals from the past, and sabotages them in the context of today.
As a women she experiences prejudices against women; misogyny in numerous ways including sex discrimination, belittling/violence against women and sexual objectification. Van Zeijl aestheticises these prejudices in her work to visually discuss this troubling dichotomy, presenting a new way of seeing female beauty. An oppressive idealisation of beauty is tackled in her work through unique female character and emotion.
Van Zeijl is invested in her images. By using subjects that intrigue and evoke emotion, she reinvents herself over and over and has created a body of work to illustrate these autobiographical narratives. Her work takes from all she experiences in life - she is both model, creator, object and subject. Going beyond the realm of individual expression, so common in the genre of self-portraiture, she strives to be both universal and timeless, with a subtle political hint.
At first glance, one might mistake van Zeijl’s portraits for subversive portrayals of noblewomen painted by Dutch Golden Age Masters. Through the exploration and manipulation of the visual vocabulary of the past and the implementation of modern photographic technology, her work possesses a timeless beauty, transcending the boundaries of epoch and media.
Van Zeijl has shown work continuously and internationally over the past fifteen years, represented by galleries located in The UK, The Netherlands, Belgium, and New York and exhibiting at emerging and established international art fairs in New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, London, Germany, Belgium, Sweden and Italy. She was nominated for the Prix De La Photographie Paris, and The Fine Art Photography Awards. She was also one of the recipeints of the inaugural Young Masters Emerging Women Art Prize, London. Her work is held in private collections in the USA, UK, Belgium, Germany, and The Netherlands.
Copyright of all images by Isabelle van Zeijl