16. April, 2022 - 25. Jun, 2022

VIJA ZARIŅA. Landscape code

ENCOUNTER. That is the motto of this year’s April of Pēteris Vasks’ Music festival. The exhibition by the well-known painter Vija Zariņa also speaks of encounters, of wonderful moments of revelation that expand the boundaries of our perception, allowing us to see and hear the fragility and beauty of the world around us. The artist often listens to the Latvijas Radio 3 Klasika radio station as she paints, and she senses vibrations of a soul akin to hers in the music of Pēteris Vasks in particular.

The show on view at Cēsis Concert Hall features new works dating from 2022 that revisit the course of nature in winter and spring, the fragile feeling when, as a new cycle begins early in the year and the days grow longer step by step, we all look forward to the arrival of spring. It is the Latvian landscape that Vija Zariņa paints, but looking for the specifics of geographical locations is pointless here; rather, it is a universal vision of landscape, a search for harmonious equilibrium and tranquillity in our current world tortured by tragic events. It is a story of Latvia, its inherent unique and inimitable natural beauty, one that is defined not by a vivid colour palette but by a range of soft and subdued tones instead. It is the code of the Latvian landscape that we recognise on a cellular level and accept as our own. Take your time as you view Vija Zariņa’s paintings; it is the moment of encounter when a landscape is transformed from a concrete realistic painting into something more, making the various levels of our consciousness resonate, making us recall what it feels like when your eyes are dazzled by flickers of sunlight on the surface of the water, reminding us of the cool winter or the lucid spring mornings, the mysterious twilight, the freshness of birch sap, the fragrance of thawing earth and the birdsongs. The viewer is free to make a mental step into the landscapes created by the artist and feel themselves as a tiny part of the universe as the world seems to come together into a single whole, merging the microcosm and the microcosm into one.

Painting is the artist’s way of self-expression, as important to her as breathing, and it is in landscape painting that she is able to find her spiritual fulfilment and reassurance: 

In my work, I attach particular importance to landscape ‒ one that is inspired by nature, not copied from nature. I call them landscapes of my senses, landscapes that are born in my imagination and remain in my memories. I paint a specific mood instead of a specific location. Sometimes you have to paint the way something is not to make it look the way it actually is. At the time when I am painting, it is the thing that matters to me most in the whole world. That is how I think, and that is how I work.


Vija Zariņa (1961) graduated from the class of monumental painting taught by Professor Indulis Zariņš (1986) and the master class taught by Professor Eduards Kalniņš and Professor Boriss Bērziņš (1989) at the Latvian Academy of Arts (LAA). She is an exhibiting artist since 1980 and has held over 20 solo exhibitions. Her works are part of the collections of the Latvian Ministry of Culture, Latvian National Museum of Art and Museum of Latvian Artists’ Union, State Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow), Russian Arts Foundation and Russian Ministry of Culture, the holdings of Tartu Art Museum (Estonia), as well as countless private collections in many parts of the world. Vija Zariņa has been teaching painting since 1986, including at the Latvian Academy of Arts (since 1999); she holds the post of Associate Professor at the Department of Painting of LAA since 2008. In 2017, the Arsenāls Exhibition Hall of Latvian National Museum of Art hosted the artist’s solo exhibition ‘Parallel’ (with the painter Kaspars Zariņš).


Inese Baranovska, curator of the exhibition