ZUTPHEN – On January 13, it is one year since the Zutphen artist Edith Meijering died at the age of 59. She was one of the most versatile, talented artists Zutphen has known. The exhibition ‘A face of Wonder’ with works in her hand can be seen from 12 February in the Overtuin gallery.
Born in Deventer in 1962, but raised in Zutphen from the age of nine, Edith knew from an early age that she wanted to be an artist. It is no surprise to anyone that after completing her high school period at Isendoorn College, she attends Det Kristne Billedkunstakademi Kampen. It is a relief for her to work with like-minded people.
Edith is passionate and curious, but is also -too- open to external stimuli. To focus on her work, she decides to return to Zutphen for the last two years of her education, to her small studio on Tademastraat. There she works in self-chosen isolation driven and with great satisfaction on self-portraits.
Edith always has herself available as a model and through self-portraits she learns to look even better. She draws and paints hundreds of portraits. As an example, she cites Vincent van Gogh’s self-portraits, but also by a contemporary artist such as Philip Akkerman. She paints herself as raw and merciless and shows herself from a vulnerable side. A look into her soul.
The self-portraits, often painted with a thick layer of oil paint, become her graduation project. Meijering cannot say exactly what prompted her to make these portraits. At least it wasn’t vanity. More of a search for the ‘truest’ portrait.
In 1987 she graduated with great honors from CABK, which caught the attention of Carin Reinders, then director of the Henriette Polak Museum in Zutphen. The museum bought one of her self-portraits and in 1989 gave it a place in the exhibition ‘What you see is yourself’. Her work immediately stood out. Or as Reinders put it; “Her work had a magical appeal. These bold, penetrating self-contemplations, powerfully captured on canvas, are unmistakably the work of a talented artist.
1989 is also the year in which Meijering receives a starting grant from the WVC ministry. It means recognition for her work and allows her to fully focus on art for a year.
In 1989, the province of Gelderland also bought two self-portraits. Painted one in the morning and the other in the evening, where she looks directly at the viewer with an open and slightly cheeky look. And with this kind of purchase, it is usual for an exhibition of the artist in question to be organized in the provincial government building. Edith had her exhibition in March 1990.
Visitors to the exhibition were sometimes shocked by the array of merciless self-portraits. Meijering was pleased with the strong reactions; “I think I have portrayed myself ruthlessly. I hear the visitors’ reactions show emotion, horror and sometimes misunderstanding. Maybe the viewers feel embarrassed because I also take myself in my shirt. I probably held up a mirror not only for myself (necessary when I make the self-portraits), but also for the people who look at my self-portraits.”
This exhibition marked the end of her period of self-portraits. You can say that Meijering has laid the foundation for all his further work with his exploration of himself.
The thick oil paintings gave way to acrylics, etchings and serigraphs and watercolor work. Edith was an extremely versatile artist, headstrong, full of passion, curious and vulnerable.