Opening of the Exhibition of Engelina Zandstra, March 5, 1999, Galerie 66, Amsterdam, Netherlands
The truth of the artist
In the history of art, inventions have been made with something of Sesam-u-open nature in them. The shortened drawing is maybe one of them, a way to show the working of depth ; modeling with light and shadow, the glimmer-lights to show the texture of fabric.
This so-called representation inventions are not the key to the meaning of a painting or the truly reproduced nature of the images, but whether paintings where these can be found allow an interpretation in natural objects.
The extent to which this succeeds depends on our own institution as a viewer. We react differently when we are prepared, either by our expectations or our needs, either by the culture in which we live.
The art of Engelina Zandstra is averse to all representation inventions. It is not hampered by academic conventions, and training modes.
Her work provides access to the mind, it is an inner exploration of its spirit. Engelina's fascination with images that are not possible or are no true representations of reality, has linkages with the idiom of the art of Surrealism .
This relationship is primarily in terms of shape ambiguities. Such ambiguities give access to the maze of the representation and the spirit of the artist.
The artist who wants to paint a real thing or something existing only in his imagination, can not start to open his eyes to look around, but has to take as his starting-point the choice set and the forms which he referred to for building the presentation. The reason that we as viewers sometimes forget this is a result of the simple truth that in the past every shape and color had a meaning connected with reality.
In Surrealism forms and colors can have different meanings. The viewer is thus forced to give attention to the different meanings of each color and each shape.
What essentially matters is the personal style of painting, the personal style of Engelina Zandstra. Her work focuses on exploring the limits of the representation. Her art is created by means of a spiritualized process.
In her work you recognize the personality of the artist and vice versa. A modest and true style, with vibrant colors and shapes. Engelina is not influenced by images and influences from outside. Her art images are created in her head, in her mind and perhaps in her subconscious. This is a second important relationship with Surrealism. Engelina finds inspiration in the subconscious, dreams and ordinary objective coincidence. The idea is worked out directly on the canvas, without any prior study.
Each painting is as a link in her creative development, a frontier process of her personal style. In this way her style development occurs fast. Color, composition, figuration and abstraction are not constant components in her work, but subject to her spiritual exploration trips.
Engelina Zandstra is not aware of the lies of the styling or the inventions of the representation. Her images are no images on the retina, but images and messages from the spirit. Her artistic intuition brings these aspects together in the present paintings. That is the truth of Engelina Zandstra.
Marieke Neervoort, Art Historian, Amersfoort, Netherlands