Martha Ossowska Persson – Sweetie, 147×138.5cm, 2015




Martha Ossowska Persson
by Håkan Bull
Martha Ossowska Persson’s paintings seem alluringly beautiful and threatening at the same time. It is easy to be impressed by her skills and to be seduced by the lovely pink skin tones. But then the experience suddenly changes into an unwanted intimate indecency. This duality is also embedded in her way of working. Her paintings seem tidy and exact but the road to the finished work has been very expressive and phsyical. Often she will paint the large sheets directly on the floor. Joining skin to skin with the paintings during long and tiresome processes she often finds a symbiosis with the work in progress. The wet watercolour paint is sometimes obstructive, and she has to decide whether to carry on, scrape off, wash out or alter the work. If one takes a closer look, it can be seen that the works have been scarred in the process and sometimes the paper might be torn. Martha O Persson talks about a book that has been important to her. “What is Flesh?” in which the author Helena Dahlberg discusses the thoughts of the French philosoper Merleu-Ponty. The flesh creates the border between our self and our surroundings and other people and her works adress the issues of how we relate to ourselves and to others. Martha O Persson was awarded the Fredrik Roos Stipend in 2015.

Mikael Wahrby
by Jacqueline Stare
Mikael Wahrby is mostly known as a copperplate printer and graphic artist primarily working in black and white. But sometimes he also paints watercolours and oils. Both his parents were art teachers and ever since he was a small child, he had free access to painting and drawing material, and his parents were very encouraging of his artwork. They took him to exhibitions and he remembers being fascinated by seeing works of Jackson Polluck. He was a teacher at the Royal Art High School in Stockholm for a period of 20 years and along the way he acquired his own printing press, becoming one of the most sought-after graphic printers in Sweden. He has always painted watercolour, but his production is not large, and most of the exhibited works sell quite rapidly. Regardless of technique, he wants to investigate all possibilities in the subject that has caught his attention, and he will emphasize contrasts between light and darkness, straight lines and soft curves, shadows etc. Even in the many of the almostphotorealistic paintings there will be an abstraction which can give the painting an alternative meaning. Mikael Wahrby was assigned to paint a series of Swedish arbors to be reproduced on stamps. The stamps were issued in 2003 and 2004.

Wenche Øyen
by Live Sætre
When Wenche Øyen tries to explain how she works with watercolours, she talks of tones, chords and compositions. She thinks like a musician and she is indeed an active amateur violinist. Her landscape paintings in oil and watercolour are often descriptions of moods of dusks and dawn, drenched in deep colours and contrasts between darkness and light. Not many of the works are of recognizable places, but of course she gets inspiration from the landscape where she lives at Nesodden. After finishing Art School in 1971 she began working as an illustrator and a portrait painter, and she is well-known in Norway for her illustrations of children’s books. Even though she will make outdoors studies and sketches and takes notes and photographs, she prefers to paint indoors. Once she starts painting she is fully concentrated. It is a very intense feeling and at times she feels like the painting itself takes over and she must struggle to keep in control. The actual painting process gives her much joy even though she discards many works. She prefers paint in pans from Old Holland and Winsor & Newton, and she starts out with very clear and bright colours which she then turns muddy by using earth colours. She has been awarded many prizes for her illustration work and she has also participated in numerous exhibitions.

Aino- Maija Metsola
by Camilla Granbacka
5 years ago Marimekko wanted a series based on the Nordic weather and they contacted Aino-Maija Metsola who makes designs from her watercolour works. Her work must be characterized as industrial production even though she almost exclusively uses watercolour painting as her starting point. Today, pieces from her collection Weather Diaries are among the company’s best-selling items. They include clothes, plates, linen and posters. Aino-Maija Metsola loves the changing conditions of the Nordic weather but she says she is most fond of heavy fog, because it creates a fairy-tale mood that one can almost sink into. She has always drawn and painted and she chose to study graphic design at the Aalto University. In 2005 she won a Marimekko design competition and she has collaborated with the company since then. In some cases she presents complete designs to them, other times they order something specific like a floral design in bright colours eg. The painting part usually lasts a week and the implementation process including choice of materials etc takes many months. Apart from the flowing watercolour designs, she has also taken up a harder more graphic design for Marimekko textiles, and she illustrates books for small children, showing brightly-coloured insects, animals, fruits and flowers.

thejonk (Jon Knutsson)
by Håkan Bull
thejonk shows his art on the digital scene in the social media. His real name is Jon Knutsson. By using an alter ego he keeps focus on what he wants to say with his art, otherwise he would think too much about trying to please other people and to fit into conventions. By maintaining a distance to his person, he can take any negative response more lightly. He has at one time stated that the works by thejonk paint themselves. He never attended art school and doesn’t really know how to paint. By using watercolour he can start by letting the colours and forms develop on their own and then work on from there, giving the painting life. It sounds as simple as it is, but it is not always a painless process, since he has a rule of never throwing out any painting. So it is crucial for him to find a way round using the result, however bad he finds it at first. Actually most of his best works turn out to be the ones he wanted to get rid of. He describes his works as “the beauty of ridiculous rules and almost impassable obstacles”.

Summary by Marianne Gross