Helsinki Contemporary is delighted to present Eeva-Riitta Eerola’s second solo exhibition at the gallery, on March 10–April 2, 2017. Senses of the Other is a continuation of Eerola’s Becoming exhibition shown at the gallery a little over two years ago. In her new works the artist contemplates looking and perception using the means of painting. In her work, Eerola disassembles the different elements of the picture, and then uses them to construct it anew in various forms. In doing this, she invites the viewer to observe her painting processes.
PLAYING WITH ELEMENTS
The gaze plays a key role in Eerola’s way of working. Recognizable glimpses of familiar elements cause the viewer to look for something more in the picture. The overlapping layers of oil paint leave a space in the works that tempts us into their inner world, a space that opens out behind a curtain or window. The depth of the paintings comes into its own with time, they unequivocally scream out the presence of the viewer.
In the exhibition we see serial works typical of Eerola. This seriality is a consequence of varying and exploring the different stages in making the work. Experiment leads to the discovery of a number of ways of saying the same thing:
“Despite their seriality, all the works generated within the same process are equally individual works, too. They come from the same soil and speak the same language, and yet do not offer the viewer a unifying way of reading or a path on which to advance,” Eerola says.
NEGOTIATION AND PRESENCE WITH THE ARTWORKS
To Eerola painting means balancing between the conscious and the unconscious. For the works to succeed the artist has to have the ability and the patience to stand still in front of the works – to look, to listen and to allow them to indicate a direction for the painting. The working process is a continual negotiation with the artwork; the boundary between finished and unfinished is hair-thin. When it succeeds, the elements of the painting are alive under the gaze: what at first appears to be in the foreground may on closer inspection recede into the background.
The guiding of the viewing experience also says something about otherness and about being the object of the gaze. Especially the series titled The Other approaches this theme. In her works Eerola investigates what special information a painting is capable of producing – what it can demonstrate without the use of verbal means.
Eeva-Riitta Eerola (b. 1980) graduated from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki in 2010 and also studied at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-arts de Paris. Her works have been shown, for example, at Galleri Bo Bjerggaard in Copenhagen in 2015 and at Gallery Jaus in Los Angeles in 2014. She is represented in collections including those of the Saastamoinen Foundation and Sara Hildén Art Museum, and the Wihuri Foundation Art Collection. Some of the works in Senses of the Other were completed in New York on the internationally prestigious ISCP (International Studio & Curatorial Program) residency programme, where Eerola worked with support from the Kordelin Foundation. A catalogue of Eerola’s works is being published to coincide with her exhibition at Helsinki Contemporary. She has just been awarded a 3-year artist grant by the Arts Promotion Centre Finland.
Eeva-Riitta Eerola also exhibited with the video artist Jenni Toikka in the Studio at Turku Art Museum (17.2-2.4.2017).