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Painter Ellen Davidzon and her Boundaries and the surfing life

15 January - 2020
by Vincent Moleveld


With her loose brushes and light-coloured palette, painter Ellen Davidzon has created figurative, impressionistic city and beach scenes. By focussing on beauty, Davidzon makes the world look a bit softer. Wildly splashing water from children playing in the sea, footsteps in the warm sand, or a breeze through the dunes; the beach scenes take you to the coast’s tranquillity, while the city scenes characterize the busy streets of the historic centre of Amsterdam. Davidzon plays a lot with the light; the sunlight falls through the leaves of the trees that are depicted along the canals, while the clouds above the sea determine the light of the beach scenes.

Davidzon's works from her ‘Boundaries’ series are more abstract and personal, but her signature has remained. How can you embrace difficult events in life without losing yourself in them? That’s what Davidzon shows with this series. Subjects such as mourning, longing, astonishment, love, happiness, sadness, self-confidence, doubt and inner strength are depicted in metaphors, colour and atmosphere. Whereas the surfers depicted on Davidzon's beach scenes show "the surfing life", they symbolise everyone’s life in ‘Boundaries’: the moving along with waves of ups and downs.

This series is painted on the inside of the canvases, which is also very appropriate to these more personal subjects. Davidzon: “I paint my world of thought, the inside of my skin. I also see the linen as a kind of skin with an inside and outside. By turning the linen around, I paint on the rough, raw side.”

Besides, ‘Boundaries’ shows us various materials that normally do not fit together. Davidzon explores the effects of those different materials in her mixed media works to represent a life full of contradictions. Her ‘Sensitives’ for example, are painted on her old painting suit. While it’s too worn to wear, it revived by using the suit as the basis for her work.

What the works from all series have in common is Davidzon's characteristic light palette, the loose paint strokes, as well as the energy and nostalgia that they bring forth. 

Image header: Beach boys (the surfing life) - Ellen Davidzon