by Håkan Bull
“Kitchen Sink Painters” was originally meant degradingly when the British art critic David Sylvester used it to describe the Beaux Arts Quartet in 1954. The group seized the expression as a trademark and since then it has come to mean realistic paintings of everyday life and objects, often in a social political context. The young Swedish artist Ludvig Sjödin mixes neorealism with kitchen sink realism and pop-art to create what he calls “democratic art”. He paints packets of meat or bags of crisps with as much care as a the old masters when they painted elaborate still life paintings. A double meaning can be found in many of his works: is the meticulously painted meat package a study of light reflexes in plastic or is it a comment on the environmental impact of the food industry. Possibly both. Another of his favourite themes is people doing manual labour in the style of the French painter Courbet (The Stone Breakers).
by Karin Faxén-Sporring
The watercolour works of Oscar Nordblom are beautiful with deep and intensive colour tones. And the theme of his paintings are always enigmatic and quiet landscapes. He explains that he tries to capture a mood, an atmosphere, a feeling. He is not quite sure what he is looking for when painting, but he knows whenever he has reached it. Many works are discarded along the way. His paintings resemble science fiction in some ways: roads that lead to nowhere or suddenly end, how the world would look like if there were no people anymore. Not in a scary way, but just dream-like. Oscar Nordblom finds it difficult to paint his own works while carrying out his full-time job as an art teacher for school children, since he puts much effort into his job. One of the good things to come out of the pandemic was that had more time to be on his own and let the creative ideas come to him.
by Marianne Gross
The starting point for Steen Malberg is drawing, but he has a great love of watercolour which is always integrated in his art, since watercolour has a unique way of rendering light and atmosphere. He has sometimes participated in painting trips in Copenhagen with the Urban Sketchers group and he loves travelling – always bringing his painting gear. His works are painted outdoors on the spot and can be considered testimonies of the surroundings, the time, and the place. He is very true to his subject and takes great care in being accurate in the depiction of light, shadow, and perspective. Apart from city views and landscapes Steen Malberg is very fond of painting animals – in the wild as well as in zoos. He has created a series of animal paintings that have been printed on cards and various merchandise on sale in the shop at Copenhagen Zoo.
by Live Sætre
There is a universal attraction to the subjects matters of Stig-Ove Sivertsen’s watercolour works: Bad weather, run-down houses, car wrecks, rust, pollution, melancholic faces, and quiet existence. He is drawn to raw and non-idyllic themes. Everthing dissolves and vanishes eventually, as he says. His paintings start with a sensation of unrest and emptiness of thought. He has no clear view of what he wants to paint but the white sheet of paper makes him feel uneasy and he just starts painting until a likeness of something emerges. He states that his method of painting can be compared to developing a photograph. Nowadays he is more preoccupied with light and shadow, texture, structure and contrast than with the perfection of the painting disregarding the subject matter. The main idea is to convey space, light and a certain mood – not a specific location. Stig-Ove Sivertsen used to work as an illustrator and graphic designer and thereby obtained an understanding for composition and balance.
Presentation of our writers: Camilla Granbacka
by Camilla Granbacka
For more than 15 years Camilla Granbacka has been an art critic for newspapers and other media. For the magazine akvarellen she has written articles since 2014. She is the author of many art books and has also curated exhibtions. The Nordic theme is close to her heart and she has worked for NIFCA, the Nordic Art Centre in Helsinki. Last year she was awarded the E J Vehmas Prize for her biography of the artist and art critic Sigrid Schaumann. Camilla Granbacka is born in 1972 and lives near Helsinki. For the time being she is writing a book about the Finnish-Swedish visual artist Gösta Diehl. The book is expected to be launched in connection with an exhibition in Kuntsi Museum in November 2021 where hundreds of paintings, drawings, and watercolour works by Gösta Diehl will be on display.