Geneva watercolorist exhibits work at Fermilab gallery

Geneva watercolorist Ana Zanic exhibits her work at Fermilab art gallery

 
 
Posted9/9/2016 6:00 AM
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  • Geneva artist Ana Zanic is displaying watercolors in the gallery at Wilson Hall at Fermilab in Batavia.

      Geneva artist Ana Zanic is displaying watercolors in the gallery at Wilson Hall at Fermilab in Batavia. Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Geneva artist Ana Zanic talks Thursday about her process when creating watercolors. Her work is on display in the gallery at Wilson Hall at Fermilab in Batavia through Sept. 16.

      Geneva artist Ana Zanic talks Thursday about her process when creating watercolors. Her work is on display in the gallery at Wilson Hall at Fermilab in Batavia through Sept. 16. Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • "Impromptu I" and "Impromptu II" are watercolors on Arches paper by Geneva artist Ana Zanic. They're on display in the gallery at Wilson Hall at Fermilab in Batavia.

      "Impromptu I" and "Impromptu II" are watercolors on Arches paper by Geneva artist Ana Zanic. They're on display in the gallery at Wilson Hall at Fermilab in Batavia. Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Watercolors by Geneva artist Ana Zanic are on display in the gallery at Wilson Hall at Fermilab in Batavia.

      Watercolors by Geneva artist Ana Zanic are on display in the gallery at Wilson Hall at Fermilab in Batavia. Rick West | Staff Photographer

Ana Zanic's abstract paintings in her "Fluidity" exhibit at Fermilab in Batavia certainly reflect the concept, with their large swathes and puddles of blues, greens and earth tones,

But then there are the thin, precise ink markings.

They are signs of intimacy, especially in her larger paintings.

The dark marks "are like writing a letter ... in a made-up language," Zanic, 39, says. Making them forces her to use smaller brushes, very precise movements, and to come face-to-paper with her work.

Zanic, of Geneva, is exhibiting about 40 paintings and 10 ceramic pieces in her show, which will be in the second-floor gallery of Wilson Hall through Sept. 16.

She typically produces works in series, such as the "Origins" and "Trails to Acadia" included in the Fermilab show.

Why abstract?

Since childhood, she has preferred to paint what she sees, such as a landscape, through the lens of her imagination. She finds it liberating, and says what you see in the paintings can change from day to day, depending on factors such as the viewer's mood.

That childhood was spent in Croatia. Her mother, father, sister, brother-in-law and husband are scientists, but there were about a dozen artists in her family, too, she says.

She received a master's degree in arts and arts education from the Academy of Fine Arts at the University of Zagreb.

She followed her husband, Zarko Pavlovic, to the United States as he pursued a doctoral degree at the University of Texas at Austin, then as he took a job as a physicist studying neutrinos at Fermilab.

The sojourn had a consequence. The type of visa she had did not allow her to have a paying job, or sell her artwork, for eight years. But she had a lot of time to paint.

"It took a lot of patience," she says, laughing.

When she finally was allowed to sell her work, she started slowly, with her own website. She exhibited in group shows at Fermilab and developed a network with artists at Water Street Studios in Batavia, where she now has a studio. And she introduced herself, via email, to the owner of a New York gallery that now represents her. (She is also represented by galleries in Chicago and Denver.)

Besides shows, her works hang in corporate collections nationwide. She began doing large works, for example, when the Loews Hotel in Chicago asked.

"I'm not surprised that they (the galleries) scooped her up," said Georgia Schwender, visual arts coordinator for Fermilab.

The medium

The paintings in the show are all watercolors. But that wasn't always Zanic's main medium. She used to work more with oils.

Zanic put them aside, however, when she became pregnant with her son Albert, now 6, out of concern about the toxicity and fumes from materials used in oil painting.

"Then I started loving and working with watercolors," she said.

She vowed to paint a watercolor a day during Albert's first year, as a kind of diary. And watercolors fit in to her busier schedule, (brother Karl joined Albert last summer).

Zanic says there is a freedom in using watercolor as her main medium. To some extent the paint gets to do its own thing, such as when she applies a large puddle of it and sees how it spreads. She wants her works to feel spontaneous and alive.

"We (the materials) kind of talk to each other. I think about the paint and the colors and the brush strokes," she says.

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