Today on D’SIGN Screen an interview with Swedish artist Pär Strömberg based at the moment in two cities, Stockholm and Amsterdam. And working on his new exhibition, opening today the 12th of January at Charles Bank Gallery located on the Bowery in New York City. I had the chance to meet this amazing painter in Amsterdam and spoke to this passionate artist about his passion for painting and the upcoming exhibition in NYC. a Amazing artist, whose work revolves around folklore, nature and mysticism and has the incredible ability to make you gasp and wonder…!
Seeing his work in February 2011 at the exhibition in Haarlem at Galerie 37, a gallery for contemporary art, was a mystifying experience. Painted with such a passion that it can only take you straight into his work. The use of only black, white and grey tints bringing you into a world that you can’t see but you know is there. Like taking a journey in time through frozen fields, deep forests, caves, uprooted trees and starless nights with full moons. Symbolism is important part of his work. Crows as an omen of death, wandering between past, present and future. The symbolism refers to myths and legends. The new works go beyond the ambiguous play between dark and light. you could only say; Strömberg follows and creates his own path, making his own saga.
Pär about his work: During the past 12 years, since my graduation at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, the themes and the narrative in my work revolved around folklore, nature mysticism, dream/nightmare scenarios and of human wonder and smallness before a grand nature. The motifs are mostly from the geographic areas around my home state Örebro in Sweden. My grandmother’s father was at one time forester and worked in southern Bergslagen and Kilsbergen among places like Fasaskogen, Jätteberget and the mysterious lake Tunntappen. Places that I’ve heard about in stories and legends, places that are my origin and which formed the basis of myth in my work and who arouses a certain exoticism in my pictures when I usually exhibit at the international art scene. For me it is not only important that people see my work and appreciate it… it is also about the craftsmanship that is significant to me. As a painter and teacher I want to deliver not only the painting it self but also work what is by quality on a high level of craftsmanship… My work is like a story, a narrative, it has to last for ever.
About his inspiration: For me inspiration comes not only from the wild nature but often found in art history, music and literature in which sounds and texts brings images. Just to mention a few, Carl Fredrik Hill in the question of form and that of August Strindberg in color. Energy and the austere symbolism I find the Black Metal music and the narrative and rigor in texts by Tomas Tranströmer and Dan Anderson. There is even a flirtation with national romanticism in the big bombastic works but that side is often toned down in the smaller formats which shows a more poetically beautiful and evocative atmosphere.
He explains:The shades of gray, dark and seemingly bleak landscapes is bursting with hidden light sources and display a range of color that require a certain amount of patience and tranquility of its audience. The images clears up gradually and giving seductive invitations to places, experiences and memories deep in our human psyche.
About his upcoming exhibition at Charles Bank Gallery in New York: I find, despite the post-apocalyptic mood of the painting lies a certain reassuring calm of the atmosphere, something that emerges through the many layers of paint, the clear distinctive technology and the austere temperament in the colouring. The characteristics of the oil paintings are a kind of layering techniques much like watercolour painting with thin layers of transparent colour and chunks of running structures.The often large canvases invite you to a physical participation, while the smaller formats are more intimate and mixed up with the inner landscape of an external collective memory of the forces of nature.
About his future:Asking about his work and where he may stand in 10 years, makes his face go in a big smile there is a announcement to make, he will a father by then… his wife is expecting a baby. That is joyful news. Congratulations are in order. And with a bigger grin he tells me; “Over 10 years I’ll be working with my son, as my little assistant travelling al over the world. “He laughs and says; “I love doing what I do, and it have taking me 10 years to get me where I’m now. I hope and being real hard working on this travel to grow and extend my work in the next following years. Also working for my self has made me not only a artist but a Pr and marketeer as well. And I like the two parts of this work. When I’m painting it’s like another world, so there is a balance for me in combining those two, and like to explore this more in the future to accommodate my work more international.”
About Pär Strömberg: Born in Örebro, in 1972 lives and works at the moment in Amsterdam and Stockholm. In 1999 he graduated from the free art department of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy. He has several (inter) national solo exhibitions to his name, including Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in 2001. In 2002 he won the Wim Izaksprijs and he was between 2004 and 2007 four times nominated for the Royal Painters Prize in the Netherlands, besides his work is represented in several collections. At present, Strömberg teaches at the College of Art Örebro in Sweden and studies graphic printing techniques at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm.
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