The art of painting has laid itself to rest. We linger on the graves of painting; Julia Rommel’s SuperJumbo, Steven Parrino’s Untitled, Dianna Molzan’s Repetto and Angela de la Cruz’s Layers – Small (Ultramarine Blue / Light Blue) rest under our feet; painting is latent, encrypted. But not dead. The ruins of painting are stirring up new life; “Everyone carries a history of contamination – purity is not an option” (Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing: The Mushroom at the End of the World. Princeton University Press. 2015). Painting is our community.
M: I’m still turning the pieces over in my mind and trying to figure out how they’re connected. I continued the strips perpendicularly onto the wall so that the natural direction of the strip changes. A neutral structure, hidden, calling out from its hiding place, handsaw, kind of robust and crooked, accommodating.
H: Can I point out something? If your plans for the exhibition are anything like what I saw last time, it means that we’re about to have a painting exhibition with no painting (with paint) whatsoever!
M: The pieces include references to building a space. Working with your hands, but from a different perspective. I feel like this is another connection to your pieces and to looms and weaving. It really happens through your hands, cutting through the concept of handicrafts.
H: Somehow, I find this really amusing right now. What a titillating thought.
In the pieces for the exhibition, painting is attached, folded and mixed with the elements picked out from the structures in the space. The pieces emphasise elements not traditionally present in painted objects and external to painting. They allude to the space rather than to painting. The paint and wood are in proportion to the paint and wood in the space. The traditional canvas is almost completely absent.
The pieces are a continuation to observing the touchpoints and essence of painting. In my pieces, I explore the wooden wedge structure, the layered nature of painting and ready-made materials as part of painting.
Mia Saharla graduated from the painting department of the Academy of Fine Arts in the autumn of 2020.
The canvas on its own inspires my work. Lately, my work has focused on weaving my own canvases, usually directly onto the wedged wooden frames. The theme is based on my experiences as a painter with the seemingly empty canvas where the artist is supposed to start their painting. When examining the canvas in a more conceptual sense, this emptiness disappears and, instead, the painter faces a countless amount of phenomena, ideas and history. Various overlapping layers, the significance of which changes from one moment to the next, settling into new proportion to each other time and time again. The canvas is never empty.
Henna Aho is finishing up her Master’s degree in the painting department of the Academy of Fine Arts under the University of the Arts Helsinki.
The exhibition has been supported by the Finnish Cultural Foundation, the Varsinais-Suomi Regional Fund and the Turku Art Society.