Zarahn Southon is a realist painter based in Auckland, New Zealand. He has a keen interest in traditional approaches to life painting and aims to convey a level of scrutiny and sensitivity to the figure in contemporary life. He often explores allegorical themes, portraiture and still life within his painting. Also apparent are references to contemporary Classical Realism, Restructured Realism, 19th century Romanticism & Dutch genre painting.
I like the small scale and intimacy of 17th century Dutch painting. I think about the artists of Delft, with their backdrop of windmills, and studious attention to detail, employing various painterly methods to overcome technical difficulties in portraying reality.
I study the use of perspective by 17th century Delft artists, with their use of Jan Vredeman de Vier’s 1604 book on perspective. I have an interest in the work of the physicist David Stork and the field of optics in understanding paintings of the Old Masters. Always aiming for a sense of naturalist perspective, and with my knowledge of light refraction, I construct my paintings in several layers. The works are drawn and painted from my life and imagination.
Since I work from home, I base my narratives around the domestic environment. Family, friends and acquaintances come to my studio and sit or stand. We have conversations ranging from state surveillance, international politics to the future of our children. Space and how we inhabit space in perspective, becomes a recurring theme.