Of Peace and Lightness
Stephanie Zubiri-crespi explores the escapist landscapes and imagery in the paintings of her glamourous mother, Vicky Zubiri
Contrary to what people may think, my mother paints for herself. It is, in fact, so difficult for her to part with her pieces, that right before the exhibit I received a barrage of calls and conflicted messages from her. “Are you sure I should sell it?” “But it’s so beautiful.” “I don’t want to sell it…” And I always have to remind her that it’s okay, she can always paint more.
“Painting is a form of release for me,” she explains, alluding to her chronic pain due to six damaged nerves from harrowing back-to-back double brain surgeries about 15 years ago. “It’s a form of escape. That’s why I always love to paint birds flying away!” she shares with a laugh.
There is a lot of love and time put into her artwork, and despite it seeming haphazard at first, when you look at the full opus, she has consistent archetypal themes. Of Peace and Lightness is an escapist exploration of landscapes and imagery through acrylic and watercolour. “It’s peace, love, and freedom. The sky, the mountains and the sea give one a peaceful feeling,” shares Vicky Zubiri.
In today’s hectic world, where we are constantly plugged into our devices, traffic is incredulous, and stress from big things and small permeate our everyday existence, it seems that we are always looking for a little bit of peace. Through her art, she hopes to bring respite for the weary souls no matter how brief, just like it does for her.
An avid traveller, much of my mother’s work are representations of places she’s visited, but also places she just finds simply beautiful. She also has a fascination for flowers and birds, attracted by their natural vivacity and bold colours. Sometimes my brother Miguel and I like to tease her that they are too bright, and she touchingly just laughs at the criticism and says “Who cares! I like it!” This penchant for the bold and bright is very much a reflection of her own personal fashion style—glamorous and creative.
This year, however, is her first foray into abstract and into a paler, soothing, almost neutral palette. Her opening piece is something I personally encouraged her to do and it was the very first in the theme. The idea was to create a large showpiece for the new apartment that I’m decorating for her. Contrary to her current home, the new piedà-terre will be done in a more contemporary style. Still keeping somewhat in theme, the abstract pieces are interpretations of
seascapes in acrylic with a lot of use of the palette knife. The result is something rather sensational with certain elegance and discreet movement as there is some interesting shadowplay when the light changes due to the textural nature of the paintings.
I personally love abstract and its capacity to adapt to any space. I love how an abstract work can transform depending on your mood and each individual’s perception. Her abstract work was an immediate hit and the pieces were the first ones to sell out, with commissions being requested.
I hope to encourage her in this direction as it is a better representation of who she really is. Unlike her usual work, which is straightforward, my mother is multifaceted and complex. She has more depth, strength and resilience than the glamorous, bubbly socialite that people like to think she is. “This may be my last exhibit as it’s getting more and more difficult to see with my left eye. But I suppose, in life, the harder you think it is for you, the more you need to succeed in achieving it.”
“IT’S PEACE, LOVE, AND FREEDOM. THE SKY, THE MOUNTAINS AND THE SEA GIVE ONE A PEACEFUL FEELING,” SAYS ZUBIRI
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Peace Flower; My Favourite Drink; Abstract Seascape; Freedom Bird; Landscape in Burma; the artist at work PREVIOUS PAGE Italian Landscape