Galleri semmingsen 2005,
Agnethe Berentsen Harket, April 2005
There are probably very few who suspect Esther Maria Bjørneboe`s paintings of being figurative. But as some suspicion has been aroused, I shall try to hold on to it, just as she herself holds on to her non-figurative project. Although these paintings might be considered non-figurative, they are painted by an artist who is aware of the fact that differing points of view regarding the figurative tradition are not necessarily iconographic or iconological. This might be a good starting point for those who are interested in painting for painting`s sake. It`s also a good place to begin if we want to take a closer look at Bjørneboes`s paintings.
These paintings are not about the images or motifs they portray, yet simply because of this, they have something in common with the traditional genre of still life painting. It is not about a fruit basket. It is about holding on to the image so it doesn`t take our attention away from the artist`s investigation of plane, shape, colour, brush stroke and spatial representation in a word: the surface. The motif might just as well have been a pattern mechanical, geometric or organic. And isn`t this what we see in Pulse. Impulse: organic patterns?
The artist herself is the first to admit it: Nature and the mimetic portrayal of it fascinate her. It is just as important to note that her paintings confirm this. Her most recent work emphasises this fascination, but instead of taking her mimetic task literally by simply painting a veneer of reality, she has created a parallel universe that reminds us something familiar. I would say that we are very close to nature in these most recent paintings not nature as landscape, but nature as organic form, nature as an organism. It is not the kind of nature that can be captured by the camera lens, but the kind the pathologist sees under the microscope. It`s difficult to stop oneself from searching for patterns and rhythms in a starry sky, and in just the same way, it`s difficult to avoid the organic, representational aspect of Bjørneboe?s latest series of paintings. There are obvious associations to coral reefs, flowers and these again have erotic overtones or remind us of night skies filled with stellar nebulae.
Nevertheless, this is not the bearing principle behind these paintings. What is important is that they show us what happens when colours meet and what happens when colours play upon our ideas, expectations and prejudices about them. See what pink and brown do to one another when they speak together or mauve and yellow. This meeting of these colours challenges any pre-conceived notion of the content matter. The ambiguity of the colours is the focus here.
When the shape or motif remains unchanged as the case is here, with small variations the colours are given the chance to speak. Sometimes they talk in quiet undertones, sometimes strongly and clearly. Their voices are sensual like a beating pulse.
For this exhibition, Esther Maria Bjørneboe has chosen to move away from her investigation of planes and surfaces, which she focussed upon in her last show, entitled Styrt tilfeldighet (Controlled coincidence). This times she has chosen to work with colour and space. Her previous work has dealt with the tension that arises when one allows coincidence, chance and whim to take charge, and on the other hand, the need to control. In the new paintings, she has tightened her compositional grip even further. She has not only created order out of chaos she has worked to create her own small cosmos. Is it more than a figurative coincidence that she has chosen to work so closely with these primal forms with nature itself in these pulsating images?
The answer is to be found in the paintings.