By Ida Rödén
SFUMATO by Katja Petterson might well be the largest work of watercolour in the world. The painting is 6×23 metres and consists of 32 parts. Sfumato originating from the Italian word for smoke describes a technique where the transitions from one colour to another are very soft and subtle. The work (inaugurated at the Culture House Aurora in Kiruna in September 2022) moves between abstract art and figurative details with shifting colours of yellow and red depicting rocky mountains and human body parts. The work symbolizes the miners and the mountains in this place. After some diffiuclties she found a space large enough to contain her whole painting during the progress of the work. She started with very small sketches and when she was happy with the profile of the mountain she started to pour large amounts of paints on the 23 metres of watercolour paper taped to the floor. After a drying period of twoo weeks she started to place drawings of hands and feet across the sheets. Once she was happy with the composition she added these body parts to the painting. She was not satisfied with the first result – so she actually spent 2,5 months painting a whole new painting.
By Jacqueline Stare
Music and art has always been present in Lena Hoel’s life. With her mother she would paint and visit art exhibitions, but later she attended a music high school. I first saw her works on display at galleri Cupido in Stockholm; they seemed full of expresssion and intensity. In 2022 she won the prize as the public’s favourite at the Art Trails in the Swedish town of Växsjö. Lena Hoel had her musical debut at the Stockholm Opera in 1984 and has sung all around the world as well as in her native Sweden. As a singer she must fit in as part of a group – as a painter she is pleased to be “her own conductor”. She sometimes wonders whether she made the right choice, should she have chosen art from the beginning? But she has treasured being able to live out her musical creativity as a soprano with many artistic challenges and interesting people. In 2011-2012 she tried out various art forms but found most pleasure in the watercolour medium and since then she has developed her style of painting along the way. The subject matters are of course important (dancers, flowers, landscapes, and birds) – they are her means of communicating in colour, form, and feelings, but they never bear political or religious meanings.
by Karin Faxén Sporrong
The little stream by the old mill at Mölneby town on the island of Orust is a place Kristian Talvik often returns to for inspiration. During the winter it can be quite hazardous with high floods and sharp rocks – during other times of the year it can be completely different. A lot is going on in this place, you just have to bring along your block and be patient. Maybe Kristian Talvik is fond of painting this spot because one senses the local history of the old mill. It is obvious to sense the presence of human-beings in the past, Ruins, rubbles and by-gone constructions. The calm flowing water building a landscape, a surface mirroring the sky and the trees. He likes to paint places that other people rush by. In his works time stands still. Kristian Talvik appreciates English visual art. The timeless elegance, the technical superiority that looks so easy – but is so hard to achieve. One of his favourites is William Turner who painted his experiences in a radically new manner, emphasizing light and atmosphere. On the way home from my talk with Kristian Talvik I seem to find glittering nuances in the grey winter landscape. Reality. A new dimension. Perhaps traces of summer. It is possible to find value and beauty in the most unexpected places.
by Jón B K Ransu
The American art critic, Clement Greenberg, contemplated in 1939 on progressive thinking of art versus ornamental images at the same time he toyed with the idea that radical ideas and methods in art will eventually become mainstream and then even kitsch. Daði Guðbjörnsson is an Icelandic artist who was in the forefront of radical painting in Iceland during the early 1980’s when he hit the art scene with a turbulent style of painting. Influenced by artists such as Anselm Kiefer and Helmut Middendorf, he became a regular “bad boy” of painting, breaking the rules of painting. He actually took sweetness to the roughness, or brought kitsch to the transavantgarde. Daði’s interest in ornament is derived from his fascination of Roman border patterns chiseled in stone or carved in wood to decorate ledges, eaves and walls of buildings and monuments. These patterns are visible in many of his early works. As his art developed his work became more condensed and orientated in baroque. The sweetness, that Daði only touched on in his early works, seems to find its home in the watercolors. They feel effortless, relaxed and his adventurous imagery is quite joyful, like a picture in a fairy tale.