text II

Eriksen opens up to a new dimension in his oeuvre

Sigrun Hodne
Art review in Stavanger Aftenblad
10 March 2010

Galleri Gann, Roar Werner Eriksen
Through 21. mars 2010

Notwithstanding their carefully considered composition and clear use of colours, Eriksen’s large paintings indubitably have something improvised about them. It is as if they were wrought in a single raging attack. As if they were born of an intense battle between the painter and his canvas. In the best paintings we, the viewer, are invited to witness and participate in an explosive show of power.

In between Eriksen’s large and strong abstract paintings, we discover some unexpected small portraits, and here we see an entirely different brush at work. A faintly drawn face appears through softer lines. None of the portraits is a concrete depiction of a recognisable person, but they are nevertheless wholly capable of communicating human features. These images force the viewer into a different way of seeing.

What surprises most about this exhibition by an artist whose oeuvre is, after all, fairly constant, and who has been a frequent exhibitor in this area in recent years, is a large aluminium installation, since he has never previously shown us sculptural objects of this kind. The sculpture is in the form of a wall, or a naked fence, of slender metal rods. These have been stacked up and intertwined like thin branches. A heap of pillows lies beneath the metal structure. At first glance, these pillows appear to be a soft contrast to the hard metal shape of the rods above, but no, this isn’t quite right. In fact, the soft pillows are lashed together with tight ropes and are really more like sandbags than inviting bedclothes. These pillow shapes lead my thoughts in the direction of attack and defence, threatening water masses and muddy war-time trenches – not of soft innocent sleep and rest. Most remarkable of all, contrasted with the heavy, tightly compressed pillows, the large metal sculpture takes on an air of lightness, the hard and the soft exchanging roles, the aluminium hovering weightlessly, the down pillows resting like heavy stones on the ground.

Even so, there are clear similarities in content between Eriksen’s many paintings and the single sculpture in the show: the installation enables him to add a new dimension to his work and suggests a new path for the future.

Translation Robert Lovering MITI