Werifesteria
Mercury Saturday 24th November 2018
Visual Arts with Andrew Harper p.21

Werifesteria means to wander through a forest longingly in search of mystery. It is claimed to be a word from Old English, but this is contentious, it may be a much newer invention, and indeed not even a legitimate word. Correct or not, it’s a fine title for the lush delights of Zsuzsa Kollo’s paintings.
Viewing the world she delves into feels like a voyage to a place full of marvels. Kollo’s work is bursting with fecundity, in all senses of the word. It is filled with ideas, is marvellously fertile and has produced many children. All the works show little people of varying ages – from sleeping tots to early teens – and new life. They project an idea of spring and very certainly the feeling of rich potential.
Kollo’s painted children are robust and strong, their cheeks often ruddy and their limbs long. Yet they’re not sentimental. It’s not like the artist is idolising her own youth. It’s more that she is trying to capture all the explosive possibility that a child could have.
There’s a subtle regal quality through all the works, with many of the subjects portrayed wearing bright crowns made of flowers and plants. There’s a symbolic language at work here that mixes new life with a suggestion of pagan symbolism in the petal-drenched headgear. This is enhanced by the appearance of some of the animals. Children are accompanied by sly foxes, which seem to have walked straight out of some kind of mythical tradition. There’s a suggestion that an old tradition is alive, fresh and renewed.
There’s more than the subjects at play though. Kollo also seems to enjoy painting. There’s a sort of hyper-reality that almost bursts out of the works. Flowers rain colour in vibrant streaks and the backgrounds are filled with strong, flowing modulations of colour and form that have a rich, rippling quality. It’s all quite joyous in execution, but tempered with a serious commitment to the act of painting. Kollo’s is skilled with a brush and her ability to paint living things and make them burst with the vitality of life is notable.
Kollo’s work is aligned with the way she applies paint. She paints life and her painting is fresh and alive, filled with a juiciness that has just enough of a hint of strangeness to stop it collapsing into mawkish sentiment. There is a suggestion of something odd going on in many of the works, as if the children know something you don’t. They stare back at the audience. They talk to animals and birds, and they make themselves crowns.

 
born 1963 Hungary
1984 Arrived Australia

Lives and works in Hobart

 

Education

1992 Attended Masters in Fine Arts Degree University of Tasmania
1990 Post graduate studies Ceramics University of Tasmania
1989 Painting Tutor Art School University of Tasmania
1988 Bachelor of Fine Art Painting University of Tasmania
1978-80 School of Art, Budapest, Hungary
 
 

Solo Exhibitions

2015 Small Ruins, Tiny Miracles, Colville Gallery, Hobart
2013 Light and Dark Colville Gallery Hobart
2012 Colville Gallery
2011 Finders Keepers Colville Gallery. Hobart
2010 Gravitas of Fruit Colville Gallery, Hobart
2009 Dark Tales Colville Gallery, Hobart
2008 House of Mysteries Colville Gallery, Hobart
2006 Storm Bay Paddington Contemporary Gallery, Sydney
2005 Primavera Despard Gallery, Hobart
2004 Arcadia Despard Gallery, Hobart
2002 Life Still Tower Gallery, Cambridge, Hobart
Chronos – Kairos Despard Gallery, Hobart
2001 Beloved Sidespace Gallery, Salamanca, Hobart
1996 Eleven – Ceramic & paintings Handmark Gallery, Hobart
1995 Innonence – ceramic sculpture Brisbane
1994 Drawings & Ceramics Burnie Regional Art Gallery
1993 Ceramic Sculptures Gallery Two, Launceston
1991 Balance Art House Gallery, Launceston
1989 Idols Post Graduate Exhibition Gallery B University of Tasmania
1987 Angels at Handmark ceramics Handmark Gallery, Hobart
 

Selected Group Exhibitions

2017 Annual Artists Show Coville Gallery, Hobart
2014 Annual Artists Show, Coville Gallery, Hobart
2013 Annual Artists Show, Coville Gallery, Hobart
2011 Annual Artists Show, Coville Gallery, Hobart
2010 art Melbourne, Colville Gallery
2009 Reflections on Beauty & Decay Schoolhouse Gallery, Rosny
2008 art Melbourne 08 Colville Gallery in Melbourne
Feast Colville gallery, Hobart
3rd Aniversary Exhibition, Colville Gallery, Hobart
2004 Doug Moran Prize, Melbourne Finalist
2003 Portia Geach Portrait Prize Sydney Finalist
2002 Portia Geach Portrait Prize Sydney Finalist
Burnie Art Prize Burnie Regional Gallery First Prize
2000 Blake Prize for Religious Art S H Ervin Gallery, Sydney Finalist
1997 Burnie Art Prize Burnie Regional Gallery First Prize
1987 Burnie Art Prize Burnie Regional Gallery First Prize
 

Selected Awards

2004 Doug Moran Prize Melbourne, Finalist
2003 Portia Geach Portrait Prize, Sydney Finalist
2002 Portia Geach Portrait Prize, Sydney Finalist Burnie Art Prize Open Award First Prize
1999 Art in Public Buildings Major Ceramic Mural Commission
Artist in Residence Brooks High School, Launceston
1996 Burnie Art Prize Open Award First Prize
1990-92 Residency Ceramic Studio 5 Launceston
1987 Burnie Art Prize Ceramics First Prize
1986 Burnie Art Prize Mixed Media First Prize
1982-84 Mora Publishers Illustrator children’s books
 

Collections

Burnie Regional Art Gallery
Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery 
Private collections throughout Australia