I first began working on the Wild nature and animal themes as part of my previous exhibition at Galleria Heino in 2014. In 2015, I continued to work on the subject, in the form of public art. This time I created murals, where the forgotten, yet central and highly visible, surfaces in our urban environment were placed in the service of art. These public works depict noble Finnish animals, such as the eagle owl (Bubo Bubo, in Pasila), the bear (ROARRR!!!, in Espoo Centre) and the goshawk (KRAA!!, in Leppävaara). In this second instalment of my gallery exhibition, I am bringing together all these works under one roof by painting them onto the empty, white expanses within the gallery.
The works at the gallery are executed in the same style as the public street art; on site, by stencil. The most demanding and time-intensive aspect of this type of work is the planning and design and actually creating the stencils. The painting process in itself is relatively straightforward. I have been preparing this exhibition since last year and will have the opportunity to complete the paintings myself while the gallery is closed for the holidays during July.
In order to be able to match the scale of the public artworks, I will be executing the paintings on large-scale canvases affixed directly onto the gallery walls. The on-site artworks will constitute a monumental painting installation, capable of filling the entire gallery space.
The works in the exhibition bear a striking similarity to my public works, as I can paint them for the gallery using the exact same technique and style as I used outdoors. The exhibition is an invitation to consider what happens to art originally created for an urban streetscape when it migrates into an indoor gallery environment. Out on the street, art always has a temporary quality. How does its fundamental character shift when it is created on a canvas that can be detached from the gallery wall? Can the bland and characterless urban surfaces be seen as a potential continuation of the gallery space, as an inspiring basis for art that brings depth and content, beauty and life, to the city milieu?
The Wild nature theme and my paintings of Finnish fauna are a tribute to the natural world and a statement in support of the efforts to protect and conserve our natural environment, also within the urban sphere.
I would like to thank the City of Espoo and the Finnish Cultural Foundation for their support.