Zarahn Southon is an Auckland-based painter. On completion of a Bachelor of Visual Arts in 1998, Southon had several solo shows and in 2005 a Contemporary Pacific Art Scholarship funded a trip to Florence to study at the Angel Academy of Art. In 2007 he was awarded a further scholarship from the classical art school Studio Escalier in the Loire Valley. He then furthered his studies in San Francisco with Ted Seth Jacobs, a senior lecturer at Studio Escalier and a pioneer of Restructured Realism. Southon regards these periods of study in Italy, France and America as highly influential on his current practice.
Described by an art critic as New Zealand’s own Lucian Freud, Southon explores allegorical themes, portraiture and still life within his personal take on Dutch genre painting and the Grand manner. Traditional in his painterly approach, his works recall the technique and compositions of the Italian High Renaissance masters. Also apparent are references to contemporary Classical Realism, Restructured Realism and 19th century Romanticism.
Southon has exhibited regularly at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery in Wellington. Public institutions holding Southon’s works include the Auckland City Council and the Wallace Trust Collection at the Pah Homestead in Auckland.