"In absolute focus, I search for silence. Not in the sense of lacking human sound, but rather as stillness; as an equivalent of inner peace, wonder, and slowing down. Silence as a form of positive emptiness, so that there is an actual space to be able to see and perceive the things around you anew."
Municipal Bonds is pleased to present Zaida Oenema's debut exhibition in the United States. This selection of the Dutch/Finnish artist's work features abstractions of organic forms, cut and burned into reliefs on paper. Inspired by nature's temporal moments—moving shadows, rippling water, waving fields—Oenema's work is a meditation on cultivating clarity, the resonance of quietude, the essence of time.
With a sensibility for distilling both mind and matter, Oenema tethers to monochrome and minimalism. Her approach appears as a concentrated structure, involving restrained color and reductive geometric form. Based in The Hague, the Netherlands, Oenema explores a palette connected to the nearby North Sea coastline, in faint shades of blue and grey, pervasive white, warm yellow, and the occasional anchor of black. And her geometric abstractions act as her own language of shape and pattern, appearing in her work as familiar symbols derived from the natural world.
Using pen and pencil, scalpel and soldering iron, Oenema renders work on the border of two-dimensional and three-dimensional. With extreme eye-hand precision, she meticulously sculpts line and surface through the rhythmic action of incision and repetition. Working with repeated dynamic forms—burned circles of suns, incised blades of grass, cut saw-tooth waves—the picture plane becomes dynamic. As such, the surface changes with the interplay of material, texture, and its response to light.
Oenema employs the grid as a foundational element of her work, for its formal restraint yet conversely for its inherent liberation, which allows for her free-hand drawing with blade and iron tip. Her technical rigor is less systematic or machine-like, more conductive and human. "I see my work not only as an abstraction, but as a kind of conversation or a musical score with a continuo, a harmonic structure, in it. The human hand provides the vibration to create its melody."
Zaida Oenema (1980), is a Dutch/Finnish visual artist who lives and works in The Hague, the Netherlands. Oenema studied at Nordic Arts and Crafts at Ålands Folkhögsskola, Finland; earned a BFA in Photography at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague (2004); and an MFA in Photography at St. Joost School of Art and Design in Breda (2009). In the past decade, she has moved from photography and video performance to drawing with various tools and materials including pencil and pen, scalpel and soldering iron, wood and resin.
Oenema exhibits her work regularly at galleries, fairs, and museums in the Netherlands, including CODA Paper Art, Museum Coda, Apeldoorn; ART Rotterdam with We Like Art; Gallery Helder, The Hague; KunstRai, Amsterdam; Art on Paper, Amsterdam; Papierbiennale, Museum Rijswijk, among others; as well as in Germany, at Gallery Ursula Wachter, Dresden; Projectraum Kunstquartier Bethanien, Berlin; and Art Fair BLOOOM, Cologne. Her work is held in many private and public collections, including the permanent collection of VU Medical Centre, Amsterdam. Most recently, Oenema received a preeminent grant from the Mondriaan Fund for established artists to support her work for the next four years (2022-2025).
Municipal Bonds—our name as well as our purpose—is a symbolic play on words. Municipalities form and encourage a concentration of people and ideas, where bonds are the connections and strengths between us. To that effect, Municipal Bonds was conceived in the Bay Area in 2019—a contemporary art gallery with a dedicated exhibition program, international in scope and cross-cultural by intention. Founded and directed by Emily Miller, Municipal Bonds seeks to enhance artists' support, development, and exposure; and to increase the diversity of art showcased for the betterment of community, collectors, and creativity.
Zaida Oenema: A Clear Day will be on view at Municipal Bonds, 1275 Minnesota Street, San Francisco, CA, February 19 - April 16, 2022, Thursday - Saturday, 12-5pm and by appointment. For more information, please contact Emily Miller at 917.450.0583, firstname.lastname@example.org.