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Exhibiting Now in Chartres: MOSAÏZM

On 08, Jan 2012 | 8 Comments | In Uncategorized | By man-admin

Meet the very talented group of young, European mosaic artists known as “Mosaïzm.”

Julian Modica  Frank Zappa  2009 60 x 60c - Smalti Winner, 2011 Orsoni Prize

Julian Modica “Frank Zappa” 2009 60 x 60c – Smalti

We first became acquainted with Mosaïzm in Italy during RavennaMosaico 2011 this past October.  During the crush of Notte d’Oro, we met two Mosaizm members – 2011 Orsoni Prize winner Julian Modica and Ruth Minola Scheibler who was showing in the Works of the Word exhibit.  Later that same evening we picked up a copy of the collective’s book/catalog, Mosaïzm, flipped it open to the Introduction and were immediately engaged:

While words ending in “ism” refers to a belief system, a movement, a philosophical or moral doctrine, Mosaïzm refers to a way of life dominated by mosaic in all its different forms.  For us, mosaic is a way to express ourselves, artistically and professionally.

Ruth Minola Scheibler 2009 Nightflight 80 x 25 cm - Smalti, gold, ceramic, coloured mirror

Ruth Minola Scheibler 2009 Nightflight 80 x 25 cm – Smalti, gold, ceramic, coloured mirror


Everything that we have seen of Mosaizm since then has been equally as articulate, intelligent, innovative, thoughtful and passionate.  We are absolutely hooked on their creative energy, artistic excellence and committed solidarity.

Francien Jongsma "Jesus" 2008

Francien Jongsma “Jesus” 2008  150 x 280 cm  River stones, gold smalti, cement

Mosaïzm began as of a group of friends who graduated from the Scuola Mosaicist del Friuli in Italy between 2001 and 2006.  The collective can be characterized as a very tight-knit, philosophically and artistically aligned cadre of professionals that – even with their strong individual artistic voices – have a startlingly cohesive vision of who they are and what they want to achieve.  This excerpt from their book could easily be called their Manifesto:

We are part of a new generation of mosaicists that believe in the future of craft.We respect tradition yet strive to innovate. We want to challenge and confront the normal,the accepted and the expected. We want mosaic to travel, grow and be an art form in itself as well as an applied art.

Seven of the eight members of Mosaïzm are showing now through February 12th in at the Chapelle Saint-Èman Chartres, France in an exhibit organized by Association 3R.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the exhibit and briefly introduce each of the artists showing.  If you are anywhere close to Chartres, go.  If you can’t see these works in person, we highly recommend their book which is available for sale online.   
All of these very fine mosaics are for sale.  If you are interested in purchasing any of them, email this address at any time:  Someone will get back to you right away.

Melaine Lanoë(France)

 Homage A Zao Wou-Ki  2011
65 x 90 cm  Ceramics, stones, shells
Like many other Mosaïzm members, Melaine Lanoë is an accomplished restorer of the classical, figurative mosaics made of colored and gold smalti found in the cathedral’s of Europe.  For her own work, however, she works in the abstract, using organic materials like those found in Homage A Zao Woui-Ki and Contemplation.
I harvest them (materials) from the ‘earth’s storehouse’, choose them carefully for their colour, their shape, their vein , their sheen.  I orchestrate them in abstract compositions, creating vibrant surfaces with dancing textures.

Contemplation2009 121 x 104 cm  Ceramic, stone

Anna Rommel (Germany)
In 2009, Ms. Rommel began experimenting on combining mosaics with concrete.  We very much like the way she has used concrete as a sort of visual “pun” as the background for Green Fish and Funky Fish.
Anna Rommel "Green Fish"

Anna Rommel “Green Fish” (2009) 60 x 65 cm  Smalti, concrete

We also appreciate how these flat, dark matte backgrounds showcase her skill at leveraging the reflective properties of the smalti.  Here is humor, drama and depth all at the same time.  Charming.
Funky Fish  2009  25 x 50 cm  Concrete, stained glass, smalti
Ruth Minola Scheibler (Germany)
David Bowie  2011  40 x 40 cm  Smalti, concrete
Ruth Minola Scheibler has used an extremely effective minimalist approach in this portrait of David Bowie.  It captures the performer during his “Berlin era” – that period of time when he literally cleaned up his act, giving up the self-destructive Ziggy Stardust persona to save his career and his life.
Ruth Minola Scheibler 2009 Nightflight 80 x 25 cm - Smalti, gold, ceramic, coloured mirror

Ruth Minola Scheibler 2009 Nightflight 80 x 25 cm – Smalti, gold, ceramic, coloured mirror

The artist also has a great affinity for the creatures of the earth and that shines in Nightflight and a number of other works.
I want to transport my affection and curiosity towards biodiversity and its behavior, like a snap-shot of my time, my planet and the culture I am part of, like a snap-shot of life.
Marie-Laure Besson (France)
Marie-Laure Besson’s work beguiles us with her selection of materials and shapes.  Fragment 1 shimmers and shivers on the wall, while Fragments IV-1 appears a portal into an orderly cosmos.
Fragments IV-1  2011 39 x 22 x 3 cm  Pebbles
Being a mosaic artist nowadays and trying to life from one’s art is like swimming against the tide in this high-speed society.
Julian Modica (Germany)
Julian Modica’s work is unique.  Very unique.  In both his portraits and his abstracts, Modica employs a two-on-two tesserae pattern that we haven’t seen anywhere else.
Julian Modica  Frank Zappa  2009 60 x 60c - Smalti Winner, 2011 Orsoni Prize

Julian Modica Frank Zappa 2009 60 x 60c – Smalti Winner, 2011 Orsoni Prize

. . . an ancient Roman floor pattern gave me the inspiration to create the basis for many of my recent pieces.  It is a simple four-stone combination, dating to the 2nd century b.C. that I apply with as many colors and as many combinations as my brain can handle.


Modicam  2009  156 x 103 cm  Smalti
Julian Modica Surface

Julian Modica Surface 2008 70×70 cm

We find it hard to get our brain around both Modica’s use of his signature design element and his astonishing use of color.
Matko Kezele  (Croatia)
We are especially fond of Matko Kezele’s small, intimate portrait of German cabaret star Marya Delvard.  The weathered wood  of the frame references a star’s aging glamor.  Is this a mirror image we see?  Are those her earrings?
Matko Kezle "Marya Delvard"

Matko Kezle “Marya Delvard” 2009  18.5 x 23 cm   Smalti, glass, marble, mirror murrine.

 Ink  2011  45 x 45 cm  Stained glass, concrete
Kezele has devoted a great part of the past seven years of his life to promoting mosaic art in his native Croatia, creating events, exhibits and classes that have brought the art form to thousands.  Remember that Manifesto?  Kezele is living it.
Francien Jongsma (Netherlands)
Francien Jongsma’s Jesus is a gentle presence made of stone.  Jongsma uses negative space to create an ethereal portrait with eyes that draw one in.
Jesus  2008  150 x 280 cm
Riverstones, gold smalti, cement
As a counterpoint to this masterwork in Chartres, Jongsma is also showing a series of small, joyful mosaics that are based on the drawings of children. Delighful.
 Simone  2010  31 x 31 cm  Natural stone, gold smalti
As we said at the beginning of this article, we highly recommend a trip to Chartres to see this exhibit.  The works we have shown here are but a very small portion of the entire show.
In her artist statement in the book Mosaïzm, Francien Jongsma captures the spirit of the collective and what it means to her as an artist . . .
 Being part of Mosaïzm means being able to work with different people in different countries on different projects in an atmosphere of joy, respect and friendship.  Thanks to the ongoing process of mutual inspiration and the exchange of our personal experiences, I continue to grow and develop more and more towards becoming an all around mosaicist.
Again, all of these very fine mosaics are for sale.  If you are interested in purchasing any of them, email this address at any time:  Someone will get back to you right away.  If a mosaic isn’t in your immediate future, then buy do buy the book.  You won’t be sorry.
Enjoy –  Nancie
Photos courtesy of the artists









Matko Kezle "Marya Delvard"


Anna Rommel "Green Fish"








Francien Jongsma "Jesus" 2008


Ruth Minola Scheibler 2009 Nightflight 80 x 25 cm - Smalti, gold, ceramic, coloured mirror


Julian Modica Frank Zappa 2009 60 x 60c - Smalti Winner, 2011 Orsoni Prize

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  1. Nancie Mills Pipgras

    So glad you find Mosaizm inspiring, Johannah. That's precisely why MAN exists -to inspire. We just wish there were more great exhibits like this one to cover. Keep learning. Keep working!

  2. Johannah

    Wonderful article, really inspirational. Thanks so much for your wonderful publication! This is news that I really want and need to see.

  3. Nancie Mills Pipgras

    Thanks for the content, George. I totally agree with about the Spilimbergo influence on mosaic portraiture. You can see the "cheekiness" in Zappa, the laser-focus in Bowie and the gentleness in Jesus. All through entirely different techniques.

  4. George

    Terrrrrrific profile – so thorough! Like you, I met Julian at his little retail show in Ravenna. Very modest, thoughtful, engaging. And the work! Some of the other artists were in one of the Spilimbergo books from a few years ago – I think while they were still students. They really "make" them go deep into portraiture – both likeness and character. Thanks for this, Nancie!

  5. Nancie Mills Pipgras

    Hi Magda- Thanks so much for the comment. Fragments IV is one of my faves, too. I like the way she worked the stone pebbles to get tesserae with such beautiful patterning. And yes, we covered Ed Chapman's mosaic portrait of Bowie earlier this week. I wonder how many others will be created in honor of his 65th birthday this year?

  6. Nancie Mills Pipgras

    Maureen – They're not just talented, they're some of the nicest people I have met through mosaics. Such a pleasure to showcase them. Thanks for passing on the word with your tweet!

  7. Mosaicology

    Wonderful Nancie! I really love the Fragments IV. Btw, David Bowie is rather famous for having his portrait translated into mosaic 🙂

  8. Maureen

    What an extraordinary group of young talents! I can only imagine how high they'll go as they get older. Marvelous work!

Luca Barberini Bone FlowersElaine M Goodwin Touching ParadiseJulian Modica SurfaceJulian Modica SurfaceLuca Barberini Bone Flowers