Thursday, May 03, 2007

three landscapes...

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a nice hotel in bergen norway with good internet connection and unable to sleep tonight... so a post of images from the national gallery of art in oslo ... the top by edvard munch, the middle by august strindberg, and the bottom by peder balke. all three were mind bending, mystical, and sublime....

the munch has this wonderful test tube shape of the moon reflected in the sea that he used in a lot of works. i also visited the munch museum, and it really seems that if you want to get a sense of how lonely it is at times to be an artist munch's work really reveals so much of this. the paintings are tinged with psychedelic colors, and seem so much about an interior life. in many of the works, the outside of things is almost dead cold and dark, while the inside is living breathing luminous mystical activity...

the stringberg painting was an unbelievable surprise. i've obsessed over his paintings for years and never was able to see one in person until i turned the corner in the museum and there was the sea marn, which has always been one of my absolute favorites. a perfect compliment to munch's interior work; strindberg painted a bit like a mainiac and the interior frenetic activity of munch is all over the surface of strindberg's seascapes - the large cliff/rock is a ton of built up slapped on paint. it's completely haunting to see these dense grays and blacks created with a kind of manic energy. having recently visited a small island at the westernmost tip of norway, it seems to be related to the incredible force of the wind, which was, in reality, completely insane.

peder balke was an artist i'd never heard of and two of his works were up in the museum, including the bottom image, which was absolutely stunning. the entire mountain area in the sky was simply loose paint applied with a pallet knife and then rubbed over with a patina. you can feel the shift of his wrist in it, and much of the imagery at the bottom is also done with what appear to be quick scrapes of paint. amongst his contemporaries, the technique and results are completely amazing and forward thinking. and, again, these landscapes feel somewhat more about the inside of things (interior movement, history, being alive....)

it was a really wonderful experience to start my trip experiencing the landscape through these paintings, and then going out into the reality of it, seeing traces of all of these in many of the places i visited...

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5 Comments:

Anonymous pgwp said...

Wow, that Munch is just gorgeous...

9:17 AM  
Blogger kclare said...

You've described these paintings beautifully, as usual...

I wasn't aware of Peder Balke either, but recently discovered a beautiful painting that he did of the northern lights... which I hope to post at some point...

What's really amazing is seeing the Balke juxtaposed with the Strindberg!

5:58 PM  
Blogger kclare said...

p.s. Though the original photo/scan was not very good, I just uploaded the Peder Balke aurora and you can see it here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kclare/489839727/

Perhaps this is the other one that was on display...

8:57 AM  
Blogger sroden said...

yeah, the munch paintings totally killed me. that one at the national gallery was one of the best, but the munch museum was like sensory overload. the work was so dark it made your body shake,and there was a ton of work. and to add power to the punch there was also a show of egon shiele's work there. the combination of him and munch in the same space with a lot of each of their works was actually hard to take after awhile... as well as making me wish i could go home and paint immediately! the balke's were absolutely amazing. that northern lights image you posted is not the other painting i saw, but it looks similarly incredible. the other was also a mountain landscape with images built from paint drips and rubs and then patina'd. i looked him up and it seems all of his work was not so loose, but i'm hoping to find some better info than what's online. nothing i can say about the stringberg, i mean i have obsessed over that image for so long, seeing it in person was kind of mind numbing. it just sort of washed over me... that was quite a good day for the eyes!

1:50 AM  
Blogger g-raff said...

I've been looking at a way of getting that Peder Balke painting of Norway's national mountain as a print. Any ideas? It is such an amazing, powerful landscape. Love it!

9:35 AM  

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