A short video intervjue:
Lars Strandh on Trace Element at Zeitgeist Gallery, Nashville, 2014
About my work
Monochromes? For more than 10 years I have been investigating a limited range of colors in my paintings. I like to call them “polychromatic monochromes”. From a distance my paintings can often be conceived as monochrome paintings, but when you come closer, there are many different colors, pigments and hues in and around the main color and also a diversity of matt and glossy surfaces. The simplicity is actually very complex.
Questions. Dr. Tobias Hoffman, director of the Museum für Konkrete Kunst, Ingolstadt, writes in the essay “Lars Strandh – the Colour, the Line, the "Framing", the Picture” * - “What appears to be the essence of Lars Strandh’s painting, in general, is to make an assertion and simultaneously relativize it. Yes, it is a monochrome surface, but strictly speaking it dissolves into a polychromatic diversity. Yes, it is a colour surface, but strictly speaking it dissolves into innumerable fine lines. And yes, it is a monochrome all-over painting, but what role does the more or less conspicuous "framing" or unpainted border play?”
Process. Stroke by stroke, layer by layer, the painting is “developed”. The process is slow, repetitive and meditative. The resulting experience is meditative, open and time demanding. Working with horizontal strokes it is, of course, impossible to avoid the references to land- or seascape. Not in a naturalistic or figurative way but as perception, as a feeling or a sub conscious memory.
Challenge. Every painting has its own “personality”... its rhythm and color tone and each time, I try to push them a little bit farther. I am continuously looking for something unknown that can be turned into an experience. Always searching for “the great something” that might be right behind the horizon.
Simplicity? The Norwegian philosopher Olav Østensjø Øvrebø writes in the essay ”…an angel through the room”* - “Simplicity can be provocative: The sneaking suspicion of being underrated, of being lulled into a streamlining way of thinking that robs the world of its complexity and wealth of nuances. The simplicity in Lars Strandh’s art is not like that. The paintings may not even be as simple as they immediately appear to be or feel like. With a closer look one quickly discovers that there is a preciseness to the work done here, this is an artist who has put brushes and palette to use and created a meticulous and patient work.”
Possibilities. I believe there are two ways (at least) of viewing my paintings. The first one is purely formal – stretcher, canvas and paint - how it is made. But there are also possibilities in the atmospheric quality in the painted fields. Per Gunnar Tverbakk, the director of Oslo Kunsthall, writes about my work: “It is possible to lose oneself in the spacious areas suggestive of water and air. The illusion is within reach for anyone willing to see it. As viewer, you can shift perspectives, recall and revoke the mirage. You can turn the “perception switch” back and forth, depending on what you wish to see. Neither perspective takes priority over the other. The two ways of viewing the paintings are equally weighted, producing an ambiguity the artist does not want to clear up. The artist paints his works with a “double brush”, thereby declaring a pragmatism that releases him from the tenets of any manifesto. It is a language of having it both ways, which identifies him with current artistic realities.”*
These are paintings of experience. Photography or a screen can never replace or capture them. It is only through presence, together with the paintings, that you truly can take part in them.
Lars Strandh 2012