Ana Tzarev flower paintings expose a secret garden at Saatchi Gallery in London

By Ruth Hazard | 07 June 2012
Tzarev was inspired by the natural beauty of her native Croatia to create the secret garden exhibition© Ana Tzarev
Exhibition: Anna Tzarev: Exposed, A Secret Garden, Saatchi Gallery, London, until June 16 2012

Despite the fact that Croatian artist Ana Tzarev didn’t start painting until her early sixties, her work has gone on to become widely recognised for its vibrancy of colour and abundant use of texture.

© Ana Tzarev
In her first London-based show, Tzarev uses these qualities to explore the symbolic significance of flowers and their association with the communities and cultures in which they are found.

Tzarev has a passion for flowers stating they “clothe this world with beauty”. Her career has included detailed work in horticulture studies and designing gardens across the world.

“My devotion to flowers began in my childhood by tending my grandmother’s garden," says the artist, who claims it was the natural beauty of her home country that first inspired her.

The exhibition features large-scale paintings of a diverse array of blooms, from the indigenous plants of Africa, to the flowers found in the markets of Asia, to the horticulture of the imperial gardens of Russia.

© Ana Tzarev
In her pursuit of various species, Tzarev travelled widely and observed their meaning in different environments, such as the hibiscus - a sign of respect in Hawaii - and the lotus, which is a symbol of reincarnation in Vietnam.
Holding to a disciplined daily schedule of work, Tzarev created the pieces by applying paint using a palette knife, brushes and her fingers to achieve a slow build-up on the canvas.

This technique gives her work a three-dimensional sculptural quality which has seen her being likened to Van Gogh and the postimpressionist movement.
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