In a contemporary art world that condemns beauty as camouflage for conceptual shallowness, championing high esthetics is nothing short of rebellion.
For Isabelle van Zeijl beauty is a necessity, an antidote to everyday drudgery and a source of inspiration. It is at the surface as well as at the heart of her art. Taking her cue from the Old Masters and cutting edge fashion, Van Zeijl creates striking portraits. In these, she combines recognisable historic poses with the unconventional and often ambiguous use of contemporary garments. She composes her photographs digitally using painterly techniques and sensitivity. The result is somewhat haunting and otherworldly, but always retains its sense of authenticity.
Van Zeijl is both model and maker, both object and subject. However, her work goes beyond the realm of individual expression that is so common in the genre of self-portraiture. It strives to be both universal and timeless, with a gentle political twist, though. By circumventing the male gaze she effectively empowers the idea of a female beauty that is of and for itself.
Over the past three years Van Zeijl’s career has really taken off. Represented by galleries in the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium and the US she has shown her work extensively as part of international exhibitions and art fairs. She was nominated for the Prix de la Photographie Paris and the Fine Art Photography Awards. She was also one of the recipients of the inaugural Young Masters Emerging Women Art Prize, London.