By Judith Van Berkom –
Paula Zoubek has been painting since childhood.
Her parents immigrated from Czech/Austria leaving on the last boat out of South Hampton, London, on the cusp of WWII to the small town of Batawa on the Trent river.
Inspiration for her work revolves around three different concepts. The first is the history of the town of Batawa, where she grew up and spent a happy childhood – “what came before,” as she describes it. The second is “the patterns in my life series,” visually recording recurring patterns, often using a multi-media approach, combining textile with painting. The third is “things dear and near,” her garden, a favourite vase, a cross-stitch done by her daughter. Zoubek’s relationship with her mother, an accomplished seamstress and poetess, is also explored in many of her works.
Zoubek works in multimedia – oils and acrylic – often combined with textiles. Her canvases are bold, the colours vibrant, the figures fragile in their openness with each other, joy portrayed in the figure of a child (herself) and strength of character in the mother/child relationship. The closeness between mother and child is deeply felt in her paintings.
This year, Zoubek’s work is dramatically different. Red is the primary colour. “It started with the red car,” she says, adding that she’s been thinking about war. Zoubek’s mother was in Vienna during WWI and her family was in concentration camps during WWII. “You think about it more,” she says, especially with so much going on in the world right now. But the deeper reason behind the choice of colour is age, says Zoubek. Zoubek is the oldest artist on the studio tour, and has lost many dear friends this past year.
Click here to read profiles of the other artists on the West End Studio Tour.