Wednesday, September 05, 2018

solo exhibition at the Geneva Public Library
September 2018
Geneva, Illinois

"Trail to Arcadia" is the title of series of paintings I created inspired by the beautiful mountainous area in the Slovenian Alps, after my last visit there, in 2013.

 Visiting the area in 2013, with my family, pictured here with my husband Žarko
The magnificent Soča River
As a child, I used to spend many spring, summer and winter holidays here, with my parents and my sister, in the small town of Bovec, where my parents owned a small condo.
With my mom, when I was 10, Vršič Pass, Julian Alps, Slovenia
The enchantingly beautiful nature of this area; at that time a hidden gem practically unknown to the tourists, made a lasting impression on me, and I have the most wonderful memories of our nature trips and hikes there.

The term "Arcadia" in art history and literature, throughout the centuries, stands as a symbol for a poetic shaped space, with bountiful natural splendor and harmony, uncorrupted by civilization. 

"Arcadia" is also seen as utopian, and therefore unattainable. And although Slovenia, its mountains and rivers, the little town of Bovec and its gorgeous natural beauty are still there, unchanged, and exist in real space and time, in a way, they are lost to me in the shape and time I was able to enjoy their beauty, freely, as a child, with my sister, and with both of my parents.

So, for me, Trail to Arcadia is about a beautiful memory of happy times, and a hint of nostalgia, too,  for the time that cannot be returned.
My older son, Albert, here 3, by the Soča river
I am happy to be able to share this series at the Geneva Public Library. Geneva, IL is now my hometown, where my older son Albert (8) goes to elementary school, and where my younger son, Karl (3) was born. I hope they remember their childhood as fondly as I remember my own. Times and places might be different, but the sense of love and happiness are always ours to create.
With my boys, Albert and Karl, strolling downtown Geneva

Monday, September 03, 2018

This last Friday, August 31st, I had a wonderful time visiting the Evanston Biennial opening reception, with three of my dear artist friends, Greta Bell, Michele Norman and Rita Grendze.
 The Biennial was curated by three jurors: Sergio Gomez, Curator, and Director of Exhibitions, Zhou B Art Center, Aron Packer, Owner and Director, Aron Packer Projects and Therese Quinn, Associate Professor of Art History & Director of Museum and Exhibition Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. was a great treat, and I am honored I got selected to be alongside many artists whose work I admire.
After the reception, we went out for some delicious sushi, that was then followed by a downpour of stormy rain on our way back. Truly a night to remember!

Friday, July 20, 2018

An awesome week...

Blush Nebula, 22"x30" watercolor, 2018
What an exciting week this has been! My younger son Karl turned three, my eight-year-old Albert  and I ran our tenth 5k together, Croatia reached it to the very top in the World cup, being the 2nd soccer team in the world (I normally don't follow soccer, but, hey, this is a pretty amazing victory for my small but proud nation), Markel Fine Arts in New York sold four of my watercolor pieces, Walker Fine Art in Denver sold a series of my five "Return to Origin" panels, and my "Blush Nebula" piece just got accepted to this year's Evanston Biennial exhibition. I have to say I'm feeling pretty awesome right now ;-)
 Impromptu, 30"x22" watercolor, 2018

 Karl and Albert with their cheering spirit

Saturday, June 23, 2018

I AMerican
Park Forrest, IL
June 15 - July 21st , 2018

“Gathering”, my ceramic installation is part of a group exhibition titled “I AMerican”, curated by Sergio Gomez, with an opening reception tomorrow, Saturday 23rd, 1-3 pm at the Tall Grass Arts Association gallery in Park Forest.
About this piece:

“Gathering” is a collection of over hundred small vessels, incised with spontaneous marks and abstract drawings. They were made as contemplative and intimate objects, to be held in the palm of a hand, and are deeply connected with my childhood. All of them were created after I moved to the United States.
The city where I was born, Vinkovci, in Croatia, is rich with archeological findings. It was inhabited since the Neolithic period. Many of the findings are ceramic vessels from the Vučedol culture, one that resided there from 3000-2200 BC. Some date from the times when the city was a Roman municipium (city) and the birthplace of two Roman Emperors, Valentinian I and Valens.
When I was little, down the street from our house an old potter had his shop, and his entire front yard was covered with masterful and simple vessels. I remember, as a child, often watching him work and procuring some clay to play with.
My everyday exposure to these various ceramic objects – the ones I saw in the local museum, as well as the ones from down the street, and even dug up in our own backyard, created in me an awareness of different cultures living there through centuries and even millennia, while all deeply connected with the soil.
Once I had moved to the United States, fifteen years ago, those childhood memories started becoming more vivid and a sense of broken connection with continuity and familiarity arose in me.
For me, the act of creating these small vessels, very primal and intimate, reflects an underlying search for reconstitution of what is familiar and comforting.

About this invitational exhibit, the curator, Sergio Gomez says:

"I AM American Exhibition is not a single perspective on immigration or ethnicity. Instead, using a variety of styles, visual forms, symbols and metaphors, each work provides a wide-angle view of the bi-cultural experience. Some of the artists are first, second or third generation immigrants. Others can trace their heritage back to the Native American Indians.  In that sense, this non-literal exhibition on the American experience provides the viewer with ample room for conversation and personal interpretation. Some works directly approach the theme of identity while others delve on other subjects related to the American experience. Ultimately, this exhibit explores the meaning of being “American”. "

Thursday, June 14, 2018


Julie Maren                         Ana Zanic
Patricia Finley                    Ellen Moershel
Brigan Gresh                      Mary Mackey
Brandon Reese

Exhibit Runs Through: July 7, 2018

My seven new works on panels are currently on view in Denver, in a seven-artist show titled" Mark Makers" at Walker Fine Art. I am glad the concept of mark making is highlighted here, as I have always felt my scribbling, doodling, caligraphic-like drawing, basically mark making, was always an integral part of my artistic practice.
There was a specific question about the act of mark making in my work in an interview I had with Kathryn Markel Fine Arts gallery a few years ago:

KMFA: Do you consider the ink marks you make to be a way to bring a sense of control and definition to the work? Or is it a continuation of the spontaneity and intuitive mark making? 

AZ: For me, the mark making is really the most intimate element of the work, and it is definitely a continuation of spontaneity. I feel like I am setting the stage with washes of watercolor, and then the mark making is what breathes life into a piece. The process of mark making is like writing a note; it is very immediate, and there is a sense of vulnerability to it. It almost feels like opening up my journal for the viewer to read.

And in an interview with the Gallery 19, this year, the question of marks in my work came up again.

Gallery 19: There are very controlled and tight little ink marks throughout your compositions. They almost serve as an opposing force to your airy layers of washes. When did you develop this language and what keeps you fascinated with it?

AZ: The language of those opposing forces, I think, is just a reflection of who I am as a person, really. I have a strong need for a sense of calm and thrive when I can be alone. I like solitude and peaceful environments. But I am also very easily excited, agitated, happy and/or sad, so there is a lot of dynamics going on inside of me, and that comes out through the mark making and the drawing. It’s almost like the fluidity and softness of the watercolor medium calms my mind, but then I also need to release these energetic marks in order to clear my mind from the hum and buzz of thoughts.

 (above) - from the Voyage series, four watercolors on panel, 12x12

 (above)- from the "Blush Nebula series, three watercolors on panel, 30"x30"

 (above) - my works together with the Brandon Reese's sculpture in the front
work by Julie Maren (left) and Brandon Reese (right)