Painting - roughly speaking - can been divided into four main areas: portraiture, narrative (or history), abstraction and landscape. It is between these last two that this group of works by painters Per Kirkeby and Albert Oehlen, and designer Timo Sarpaneva, exist. Suspended within the renovated workshop space of an existing barn, these works all are linked by an investigation into the expressive possibilities of their medium.
Per Kirkeby - one of the most important Danish painters of our time - has a group of works that in different ways probe into the physical and psychological representation of our environment. His knowledge and experience as a geologist has influenced his approach to painting, where the strata and make-up of the earth seems to be overlaid on the exterior of the landscape. Kirkeby thereby creates a tension between fore and background, above and below, viewer and artwork, subsuming the viewer into the landscapes he alludes to.
Timo Sarpaneva’s 1960 rug Dömskär aims to achieve an evocation of the landscape, bringing the surface of the earth into a domestic interior. This piece is from a series of four rare textile works by the artist. Entitled Gulf of Bothnia, it was handwoven at the Villayhtymä factory. Whether working in glass, ceramic, textile or metal, Sarpaneva’s skill is in transposing the emotional and physical reaction one feels in relation to a natural surface and recreating it in an entirely different medium.
Albert Oehlen, arguably one of the most important and challenging artists of his generation, has since the early 1980s consistently probed at the possibilities and relevance that painting has as a medium, often working on a series until the potential of that investigation is exhausted. Untitled (Baum 31), 2015, is from such a continuing exploration started in 2013 that uses three elements to make an image. The elements – a black abstract linear form, a patch of colour and a white ground – continue to be an infinitely constructive set of constraints for the artist.