Heikki Marila: New Paintings
Galerie Forsblom, 2– 29.4, 2017
Opening with artist in attendance on 1.4.2016 at 12–16
Karlavägen 9, Stockholm
Galerie Forsblom has the pleasure to present an exhibition by Heikki Marila (b. 1966), one of Finland’s great contemporary painters. Marila is perhaps best known in Sweden as the first prize winner of the Carnegie Art Award in 2012, a distinction that earned him international attention. With his bold and powerful paintings, Marila engages with art history genres and motifs such as portraiture, still lifes and biblical themes. His expressive floral still lifes have been especially lauded; they are reminiscent of seventeenth century Dutch painting traditions, which he has refined and transformed into his own unique artistic language.
The artist’s first solo exhibition at the Stockholm gallery consists of a suite of new works, or variations, inspired by two seventeenth century Dutch still lifes. The classic paintings “Still Life with Oysters, a Silver Tazza and Glassware” (1635) by Willem Claesz Heda and “Still Life with a Lobster, Fruit, Silver and China Ware” (1660) by Abraham van Beyeren are currently in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Dundee Art Galleries and Museums, respectively. In the new works, Marila explores not only this particular form, the still life, but also leaves empty space open to further interpretation in the paintings.
“I’ve always tried to use existing forms; it gives me the freedom to explore the actual painting,” says Marila. In a sense, the impasto layers of paint and striking materiality of the works hint at the themes and iconography featured in Marila’s paintings. Through the often monumental format of the paintings, Marila produces striking contrasts to the original, often intimately shaped iconography of the motifs, focusing instead on the potential of the paintings.
Marila graduated from the Turku School of Fine Arts in 1992. His expressive paintings have garnered significant attention and he shows regularly in Finland and internationally. His work is represented in many institutional collections, including the Sara Hildén Art Museum, as well as in several private international collections.