English Summary 4-2014

Aura Hakuri (Finland)

by Håkan Bull

When Aura Hakuri reached what she called a "dead end with oil painting" her teacher at the Academy of Visual Art in Helsingfors, Petri Hytönen, opened her eyes to the special energy in experimental watercolour painting. Her works are full of figures - human, inhuman, mythical - often as collages that can be compared to a crowded stage filled with actors in costume trying to act out the whole play in a single concentrated moment. The image can become so crowded that some parts have to leave the paper and crawl out on the floor as an installation. Aura Hakuri's husband works off-stage at the Swedish Theatre in Helsingfors, but the main inspiration from the theatrical world comes from her father, who is a sculptor and scenographer. A more recent inspiration is from a friend who is married to a man from Brazil. From them she has heard a lot about Brazilian culture and way of life and has transformed these conversations to a series of exotic images. Dance is also an essential part of her life. Aura Hakuri did consider becoming a professional dancer, but chose art instead. She has found a way to incorporate dance in her art. Together with Linda Granfors she sets up performance art where they use elements from dance as well as watercolour. Becoming a mother has also affected her deeply, personally as well as artistically and many works deal with motherhood and womanhood.

 

Karin Keane (Norway)

by Jacqueline Stare

It wasn't till rather late in life that Karin Keane decided to work full-time in art. She finished art education in 2006. She works in all medias, but is particularly drawn to watercolour. A considerable part of her occupation is running watercolour courses for adults and children, but she also finds time for working with various art organizations in Norway and the Nordic countries. As International Liaison Officer and new Norwegian representative for NAS she undertook the time-consuming job of being NAS' member of the co-ordinating committee for the planning and implementation of Nordisk Akvarell 2013 and the 16th ECWS International Watercolour Exhibition in Løten, Norway. Karin Keane moved to Norway with her American father and Swedish mother when she was six years old. Later on her father moved back to the USA, where she has been to visit countless times. Her foundation in life and art is multi-cultural: she is very influenced by the American watercolour tradition that is personified by an artist such as Charles Reid with whom she has taken classes, but she is also rooted in the Norwegian and Swedish style represented by some of the other artists she has sought as teachers: Morten Paulsen, Arne Isacsson and Anders Wallin. Nature is a returning inspiration to her, especially the sea and the forests, but even in her more abstract works she seeks "traces" that can be elaborated - in the materials, the composition and the motive. Often she works with series, one being "inside/outside" where she places architectural elements in landscape paintings creating a surreal effect. The variety of impressions Karin Keane was exposed to in her childhood gave her the flexibility, curiosity and persistence that she now pours into her art.

 

Arne Jacobsen (Denmark)

by Marianne Gross

One will never know whether Arne Jacobsen would have gained as much international fame had he chosen to pursue his dream of becoming an artist instead of an architect. He was most likely attracted to the idea of combining drawing and painting with a "proper" profession, since his father wasn't enthusiastic on the prospect of his son entering into an artistic career. His talent of painting watercolour prospects of architecural projects were legendary, but during his whole life he never stopped painting landscapes, nature studies and travel sketches - almost all in watercolour. He was extremely productive as an architect, a designer, and a painter, and he didn't draw a sharp line between working hours and leisure time. Sometimes he could spend all day painting the bushes and flowers in his garden. Many of these sketches he would later on use in his textile designs. In 1925 he received his first international award at the World Exhibition in Paris for a chair he had designed and from then on he enjoyed much success designing private homes, public buildings, appartment buildings, industrial sites, furniture, cutlery, etc. He won many prizes at architect competitions and it is obvious why, when looking at the beautiful watercolours where the surroundings and the atmosphere play an important part in presenting the various projects. In 2002 to celebrate his 100th birthday, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark arranged an exhibition about his life and his works where many of his watercolours were on display. Afterwards about 100 of them were published in the book "Atlas" which can be highly recommended.

 

Felicia Landehag (Sweden)

by Kelly Lindblom

During the summer Felicia Landehag lives with her parents in Sweden where she shares the studio with her father Jörgen Landehag, but the rest of the time she lives in Bangkok where she is able to support herself with odd jobs and temporary employment. Her black-and-white portraits are about compassion - a kind of conversation between the motive and herself. She sees these faces as landscapes that she wants to explore. She tends to emphasize the mouth. Even though the eyes are the mirrors of the soul, the mouth can be very expressive. Her faces often seem sad, but she says that they are not - they are more contemplative. Portraits and self-portraits have a long tradition in art, just think of Rembrandt and van Gogh, but today a "selfie" is also a modern phenonemon. Felicia Landehag believes this to be something people of all times and places have in common: to look into the mirror and wonder.
She loves old photos and by working with black as only colour diluted in more or less water she obtains a special effect of concentration and freedom at the same time. She makes many preparations before painting these large 50x70cm portraits, sketching, writing and looking at other images. Music is also very important - she plays and sings herself, music being a parallel way of expression for her and she reflects about her painting in writing and music. She always has her notebooks at hand - here she sketches, writes notes and jots down guitar tabs - all for later inspiration.

 

Lars Lerin - Naturlära (Book review)

by Jacqueline Stare

Lars Lerin is by many people considered one of the best contemporary watercolour painters in Sweden and he is also famous in Norway where he lived for almost a decade. During his life he has travelled to many places and has filled about 40 books with paintings, sketches and writings from his impressions of the numerous landscapes and cultures. His latest book Naturlära (Nature Study) comprises of around 400 pages with illustrations and texts confirming his knowledge of, connection to, and deep love of nature. Nothing is too small or too large to be depicted, sometimes only with a few brushstrokes, other times as very detailed and fully composed images. From small insects and a single butterfly to very large landscape paintings. Apart from the many watercolours reproduced in the book he has also included a number of etchings and photos. The texts are his own personal statements, comments, and reflections - not necessary directly linked to the illustrations. Lars Lerin is never predictable and he consistently manages to find new motives, new colour combinations and new ways of expressing himself - all while maintaining his personal uniqueness.
Lars Lerins book Naturlära was awarded the Augustpriset 2014 in the non-fiction category.

 

 

Summary by Marianne Gross