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Art Energizing 2018

There is no better way to begin 2018 than by drawing inspiration from creative artists and designers who make out-of-the-box experimentation their motto; innovatively extending beyond their existing artistic boundaries to crest new horizons and shoot for the furthest stars; engaging in constructive dialogues on the possibilities of breaching impossibilities…

 …the very essence of humanity’s ingenuity in revolutionarily evolving forward.  

  Untitled, jpg Armory

Exhibition: Unfold
Artist: Sonja Larsson
Where: Cecilia Hillström Gallery, Hälsingegatan 43
When: Till 17 February

Consisting a series of large-scale oil paintings on canvas, they started from Sonja Larsson’s exploration of the idea of paintings “woven” line by line; letting their layers dictate the tense physical and intellectual dialogue between the working materials and the seemingly perfect shapes and the trace of the hand.

The result are paintings treacherously serene. Yet the myriad explosions between steady lines and measured dots negate this claim to calm and quietude.

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Exhibition: Interferenser
Artist: Peter Hagdahl
Where: Stora Galleriet, SKF/Konstnärshuset, Smålandsgatan 7
When: 25 January to 18 February

The installation “Interferenser” consists of two mental map images, two parallel paintings with projections, to create a form of monumental flow charts over inner and outer movements, and the commentaries arising from media flow encountering our own associations and references, while concurrently visualizing the contradictory interpretations that can arise in the encounter between the public and the private.

Peter Hagdahl’s art is often interdisciplinary and poetic renditions in the charged field amongst contradictions, events and circumstances – where the character of the site as well as the current situation are important components and starting points; making his attempt at portraying the unstable and transient, where every description or construction is directly dependent on the journey taken by our internal and external events and reflections, his oeuvre.




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Exhibition: Ung Svensk Form (Young Swedish Design) 2018
Where: ArkDes, Exercisplan 4, Skeppsholmen
When: 8 February to 18 March

Featuring the most intriguing new designs from Sweden’s young creatives, the exhibition displays unique pieces from a range of disciplines: from product design to crafts; as a window to the future and a platform for young designers to showcase their ideas.

Growing out of an award with the same name, the exhibition hence keeps secret the names of exhibitors until they are announced at its opening, which coincides with Stockholm Design Week 2018.

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Exhibition: Spirit of the Mountain
Artist: Erik Hårdstedt
Where: DOMEIJ GALLERY AB, Bragevägen 21
When: 20 January to 17 February

Erik Hårdstedt’s new group of aquarelles have motifs inspired by his many travels in India and by his immediate surroundings; of everyday interiors and objects, exotic places and personal encounters. Mountain mist in a crisp sunlight, spiritual places and the atmospheric small town Uddebo some miles outside Borås where he has his base, conspire with each other in this exhibition.

Hårdstedt works with watercolor because they are “an immediate and relentless technique that demands your entire attention and presence” as using it “is a balancing act between the chance of how the pigment chooses to stick to the paper’s surface and a result of [his] skill and knowledge of the materials’ properties”.

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Exhibition: Settle down and drift out
Artist: Dick Hedlund
Where: ELASTIC Gallery / Ola Gustafsson, Ulrikagatan 15
When: Till 17 February

Dick Hedlund’s process forces him to move back and forth towards the surface of the canvas to give us insight into the very fabric and material of his new works. His resultant series of new canvases have dual layers: one dark and bleached at the back of the surface and a grey surface of muslin fabric at the front.

This process of moving thread by thread at the top surfaces’ fabric is time consuming but it opens a new terrain on the surface, where threads and lines create references to more machine-made motifs and signs.

His series of cast tin sculptures are strapped up and hanging from nylon cord to highlight movement while holding them in place in steel frames normally used in clothing stores; making them hang like large pieces of jewellery and accessories with intricate shapes and maze-like structures; telling us to look in and beyond the material as well as in and beyond our own experience of Hedlund’s artworks.

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Exhibition: Ocean
Artist: Oskar Hult
Where: ANNAELLEGALLERY, Karlavägen 15 B
When: Till 25 February

In Oskar Hult‘s Ocean, the idea of transition remains at the core of his works: the formal transition of every individual painting and the space between them. Guided by intuition, Hult finds starting and end points between figuration and abstraction, with each painting establishing its unique characteristic potential.

By carefully letting the materials guide him in the process, paintings of varying sizes are hung on top of each other, some cut apart and incorporated with others, and some with wooden objects attached around and on top of canvases.

Elusive borders, like those between bodies of water, ephemerally form within Hult’s paintings. In fluid dissolution and convergence, the evasive figurations sail, float and sink on seemingly still surfaces of indeterminable depths.

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Exhibition: Towards The Light
Artist: Frank Bowling
Where: CHRISTIAN LARSEN, HUDIKSVALLSGATAN 8, 1ST FL
When: Till 17 February

Frank Bowling OBE RA (b.1934 British Guiana) is widely recognised as one of the most important artists in the field of abstraction in the second half of the 20th century. Moving to London in 1953 to attend the Royal College of Art during a time when figuration and representation were key elements of his painting practice, he was drawn by the city’s energy, drive and seemingly never-ending potential.

Moving subsequently to New York in 1966, his early formative years there shifted away from the figurative and pop elements of his earlier work to deepen his investigations into material, process, geometry and colour, and his increasing exposure to the artists working in New York City at this time, led to his first early pure abstractions. For over 60 years he has devoted himself to a tireless investigation into the nature and possibilities of painting, consistently pushing the boundaries of his work through rigorous experimentation and boundless energy.

Towards the Light presents eleven paintings all created between 2012 to 2016; providing us opportunity to experience the rich vocabulary of techniques and ideas that Bowling continues to expand upon; of Bowling as an artist who continues to explore both inwardly and outwardly, excavating his past while absorbing his new experiences and memories of the world around him. Fusing clear intention and predetermined ideas with virtuosic improvisation and chance interventions, his manipulation of his paintings’ surface result in enigmatic and highly expressive works that portray a visual dance between intent and accident.

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Exhibition: No Ceilings
Artist: Charlie Roberts
Where: Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Fredsgatan 12
When: 20 January to 3 March

No Ceilings presents a suite of Charlie Roberts’ new paintings with a female focus. In dreamy imagery, a kind of parallel universe is depicted, where men play only minor roles; rendering the paintings fragments from a larger story that holds both feverous fantasies and meditative modes, with a scenery shifting from modern urban spaces to timeless landscapes.

It is a distinctive and peculiar imagery, both in aesthetics and content, where Roberts’ consistently collects inspiration from widely different origins. Echoes from art history are efficiently blended with popular culture into a contemporary eclectic language. The new images are bold formative experiments from diverse sources of inspiration, such as Romanticism, Surrealism, Byzantine art and Graffiti.

We may see Roberts’ exhibition in the light of the current social discussion; indicating that everything is possible in the pictures’ stories and in Roberts’ boundless artistry.




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Exhibition: Line and Verse
Artists:  Ellen Berkenblit, Michael Berryhill, Brian Calvin, Milano Chow, Holly Coulis, Louis Fratino, EJ Hauser, Ridley Howard, Loie Hollowell, Veronika Pausova, Alan Prazniak, Eleanor Ray, Lui Shtini, Tracy Thomason, John Wesley & Mitchell Wright.
Where: Andréhn-Schiptjenko, Hudiksvallsgatan 8
When: Till 17 February

Line and Verse consists primarily of paintings and drawings of 16 US-based artists, spanning generations, and ranging from non-objective geometry to pop influenced image realities; offering subtle relationships between works and thinking. Perhaps most clearly, all of the artists consciously deal, in some way, with the architecture and structure of subjective space. The logic of its construction is in service to some kind of experience within the rectangle, playing on the tradition of pictures as an alternate reality, painting as a window on a wall.

Central to the works is the manner in which spaces are crafted, considered, framed, and shuffled. It can be a stylized directive from the artist, or a sly disruption of expectation. This goes beyond simple formal arrangement, to a sort of metaphysical expression. Order, disorder, juxtaposition and symmetry are all employed as a means to an end, and sometimes the end itself.

At first glance, the work has a clear link to historical precedent and genre. Portraiture, Landscape, Still-life, Abstraction are employed with contemporary perspective. Connections to pop culture, photography, cinema, design are imbedded in language and tone. Themes ranging from the spiritual, emotional and sensual are addressed with wit and nimbleness.

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Exhibition: Never Odd or Even
Artist: Michael Johansson
Where: Galleri Andersson/Sandström, Hudiksvallsgatan 6
When: Till 17 February

Michael Johansson uses found material and often objects that he collects in the surroundings of where he will exhibit. Despite the huge number of objects he merges into his three-dimensional works, there is a fascinating cohesion from the distinct and systematic structure.

The works have a clear geometric shape like a cube or rectangle and are arranged in different colour schemes that tend to be in a monochrome palette. Over the years, he has increasingly developed and explored his approach to his material flora. The colours are now in smoother transitions than before: mirroring and duplications have become a key theme.

 Johansson’s expression is stringent. Yet as varied and always associated with sensible precision. The material for his sculptures is related to the private sphere, such as kitchen layouts, chest of drawers, cabinets, bags, instruments, appliances, binders, things that Johansson, like an archaeologist, collects, assembles and uses as building blocks to create a structure.

His free standing and site-specific installations fill spaces like niches, alcoves, the space where two buildings meet, a part of a room, under a staircase, on a facade; building out cavities, filling in and adding new elements that reformulate the architecture; echoing the American artist Gordon Matta-Clark who redefined space and architecture, but in Johansson’s case, he removes pieces of space, cuts buildings in two, to occasionally present elements of the erased objects as sculptures.

In Johansson’s free-standing object, often placed on the floor, we see references to American minimalism, but where it is characterized by the work referring only to itself and no reality beyond, as Johansson’s is bursting with potential stories of existential nature. The recognisable items awaken memories and it is easy to begin fantasizing about the objects’ origins and their previous owners. Paralleled with the familiar is also something gruelling and mysterious – when these things are taken out of their natural context to be placed together in new ones, their function becomes uncertain and they turn into something else, more omnipotent and appealingly incomprehensible.

Information and photo credits: The respective galleries.

About Wai Lin Coultas

Wai Lin Coultas
Wai Lin is a Singaporean married to an Australian. Besides being mad about putting her own twists and fusions into recipes from diverse continents, she spends her time writing and subbing for an Aussie newspaper as well as covering the contemporary arts scene in Singapore as a gallery docent and online reviewer. She and her hubby love Stockholm's exciting arts and culture, along with the food and wine it offers.

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One comment

  1. Nice one for sharing this I really enjoyed reading this. thanks, Sarah

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