Mika Holtzinger, recently moved to Montana, will present at the Zoot Art Gallery her most recent series, Losing Color: large scale paintings that celebrate the beauty and mystery of different species and their ecosystems. An opening reception will be held Thursday, July 7th from 5 to 8 PM, located at the Zoot Art Gallery, 555 Zoot Enterprises Lane, Bozeman, MT 59718. The work will be on exhibit July thru October. The Zoot Art Gallery is open from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday.
Holtzinger, a contemporary wildlife painter, began her collegiate studies in the Midwest, graduating with a bachelor of fine arts from Wichita State University in Kansas. She also studied in Italy at the International School of Painting, Drawing and Sculpture before receiving her masters from the University of Oregon, in Eugene. Over the past ten years, Holtzinger has worked in many genres. She layers pencils, paints, inks, and pastels in such a way that the surfaces seem to almost vibrate. In her recent work she has abandoned the structure of traditional paintings, “I wanted this work to have a feeling of a tapestry or a flag rather than a painting. Years ago, I lived in a Buddhist ‘temple’ for a summer. It was a special place that housed traveling Tibetan monks but also rented safe and serene rooms to women. My fondest memories of living there are sitting in the prayer room and admiring the long, brilliant, hand painted prayer flags. I still feel connected to those images. This was my inspiration for using cloth as my surface and the scroll as my template.”
The natural world has always motivated Holtzinger, over the last few years her work has focused on creatures which pollinate, mostly birds and bees. ‘Losing Color’, marks a new direction for the artist. “I was doing research on animal totems for a series of paintings I was working on, the more I studied about different animals and their biomes, the more I became aware of threatened and endangered species … the more I learned, the more I felt my work had to focus on these issues”. Holtzinger often refers to herself as a ‘steward’ to nature, someone who is tending and protecting the place where she lives. Her images not only observe nature and the interconnectedness between species but also arouse reverence for her subjects. “I strive to make work that inspires people to more intricately bond with their environment, in hopes of forming a deeper appreciation for their surroundings”.