Claes Bäckström – Pojke, akvarell/gouache/kol, 41x32cm




Claes Bäckström
by Jacqueline Stare
Being a homosexual his early life was a serious struggle, but he did experience a great sense of happiness from the care and affection his grandmother gave him. She was also the one to open his eyes to art, music, literature, and nature – all of which still are important parts of his life. From the age of 18 he made a living as an illustrator of magazines and books, but solo exhibitions have been rare. The most recent one was in Stockholm in 2011.Even though his watercolours appear very intense he does not want them to seem “pretty” so he deliberately muds the colouring and takes away the brightness. Often he will use mixed media and drawn lines can be found in most of his works, regardless of technique. A favourite motif is the the young man – small, insecure, and vulnerable when isolated. When he discovered the writings of Marcel Proust (1871-1922) he was inspired to start writing himself and published writings include an essay on Marcel Proust and 3 auto-biographies with illustrations. He is now a man of 84, but still have fond memories of his grandmother who gave him an undying love of the beauty of art in all it’s forms and this love he always tries to convey in his own artistic works.

Ylva Sager
by Jacqueline Stare
Together with her husband, the artist Peter Sager, Ylva Sager runs an art school outside Stockholm. Even though she is extremely busy with her own works, the art school is important for her. She enjoys teaching and working with other people, developing their skills and creativity as well as her own. Her method of painting started one day when she came across a piece of very heavy and rough paper. Using rags to rub in paints in abstract patches she suddenly was on her way to new means of expressing herself. She shifts between watercolour and gouache, but even for the trained eye it is impossible to tell which is which when looking at the finished paintings. A lot of her work is experimental. Apart from painting on layers of silk paper and making collages she also creates rag sculptures: cloths soaked in watercolour, bended to shape and left to dry and harden. Earlier in life Ylva Sager wished to become a textile designer and music has always been a part of her life as well. She sings in a choir and in her own opinion, the music can be found in her paintings as well. A wordless communication but with the same kind of vibrations and feelings that can be experienced when listening to music.

Göran Lundborg
by Lasse Sandström
He used to be a hand surgeon, he paints and draws and he plays the trumpet and the piano, so for Göran Lundborg all the most important features are in the hands. He likes to combine the flow of watercolours with outlines using pen or coal for added tension.Landscapes, cities and jazz musicians are some of his preferred themes and he is very fond of plein-air painting and like a number of other artists he finds many parallels between music and painting. Since retiring as a hand surgeon he has of course dedicated more time to painting and to music, but he has also written a very interesting book on the functioning and collaboration of the brain and the hand: “Handen och hjärnan. Från Lucys tumme till den tankestyrda robothanden” (Bokförlaget Atlantis, Stockholm, 2011). Our feelings and sense of colour and form as well as creativity are all located in the brain but much brain power goes into controlling hand movements and sensations. Musical activities and painting require a lot of precision work by the hand but there have been cases where the creativity of an artist has remained intact after severe brain damage or illness inhibiting the functions of the hands, even though the artistic means of expression might then have changed.

Guðný Rósa Ingimarsdóttir
by JBK Ransu
When seeing Guðný Rósa’s works, I am reminded of the 1968 science fiction movie “Fantastic Voyage” where Raquel Welch and Stephen Boyd are shrunk to microscopic size and travel into a human body. The storyline of the film is of course an excuse to create scenarios that show the infamous visual wonders of inner space with an abstract world of a perfect geometric system that we call the human body. The first works of Guðný Rósa’s I saw in 2002 were minimalistic, seemingly abstract, yet very physical. There were forms, lines, knots, and dots that were visually uncanny to me but emotionally familiar. I became intrigued with her art and have followed it ever since. Guðný Rósa works in various mediums such as sculpture, sound, video, photography, drawings, collage, sewing, and painting, but water soluble media have grown ever more dominant in her art and she also uses a unique technique of cutting and peeling the skin of the paper. Her pictures point to an organic world that one may relate to the human body, yet one cannot limit them in such a figurative context. For me, having followed her art in 10 years, it is like having joined her in a fantastic voyage through the body of painting where I witness the same sort of abstract visual wonders that one might encounter traveling inside an organic system in a one micrometer vessel.

Hotel Chevillon, Grez-sur Loing (France)
by Svenerik Jakobsson
Like most artists living in Paris in the last half of the 19th century, the Swedish residents also left the city during the heat of the summer to find cooler weather and new inspiration in the countryside. Grez-sur-Loing was a popular summer resort and at that time the Hotel Chevillon was one of the places to stay. Carl Larsson was there in the summer of 1882 and met Karin Bergö whom he later married. They spent the following summer in Grez and their first daughter, Suzanne, was born there. In 1987 the hotel was bought by a Swedish foundation and restored to its former glory as a residence for artists, painters, writers, composers, and scientists as from March 1994. Thanks to the foundation I had the opportunity of spending October 2011 in Grez where I concentrated my work on the nearby swans. In the studio I also tried out painting watercolour on architect film instead of on paper. On architect film the paint takes about 24 hours to dry and it was an interesting challenge. It felt good to be able to paint, draw, and make etchings of the swans with such intensity for such a long period of time.

Summary by Marianne Gross