The art of painting is a fascinating and infinite universe. Like all art forms, it offers the possibility of a spiritual fusion between the minds of the artist and the beholder. Art evolves in a dimension that is more immediate than language and in which intuition and sensibility dominate the interplay. The art of painting allows thus a very direct contact which may be, in its nature, simultaneously individual and universal – we are all different as individuals but very much alike as human beings. We can find each other in this world of art, enriching our experience of life and humanity.
In my artistic activities I explore this universe in order to find what corresponds to me as an individual having at the same time a more universal validity. The notion of beauty enters in this research – the colours are beautiful in our eyes! The painting has to, however, also open a space for the mind, and my search for this space is strongly inspired by the oriental thinking about emptiness. My work oscillates between the fullness of colours, which address more directly our senses, and the emptiness, which makes our minds vibrate. This approach determines also the painting styles I deploy and develop.
Autoportrait when nineteen
I am a Finnish born painter living in Paris, France since the 1980’s. Parisian urban environment and the cultural context are exciting and inspiring. However, the endless summer twilight in Finland remains in my mind – there is no softer and almost tangible light. Studying art and translating books on art for living led me to explore in depth the ideas behind the art of painting. A Master’s degree in my pocket in philosophy from the Helsinki University I ended up obtaining a PhD degree at the Sorbonne University in philosophy of art. The “pionnieers” of abstracts art had indeed been philosophers, and a lot of thought had been given to establish what was an abstract painting. The question remained, however, largely open. And philosophy is, quoting Wittgenstein, like a ladder. You climb up and then you see clearly – unquote – and then you can start painting.
My studies in art history and philosophy led me to publish a number of articles and two books, but painting has been my driving force. I keep exploring it with a variety of styles to find out what it can offer – it is a dialogue between me and the art of painting. As a sidekick, I am also exploring the real world through the lens of a digital camera. Photography combines with painting in a very interesting way. Photos reflect a given reality, whereas in painting something concrete is created out of something totally immaterial, the artist’s imagination. However, both the photo and the painting are still immaterial in their artistic content.
Thinking imagining is a totally different process. There are, of course, certain basic functional rules to follow like colour interaction and contrast, the Golden Section in composition, perspective and the illusion of depth. I paint with feeling and it is often like playing jazz music – on the basis of the riffs the artists improvises. Painting becomes an intuitive process beyond conceptual thinking and in the end ineffable. I cannot “explain” my work, nor name my paintings, the painting being the best expression of its content. The spectator is in the same position, it’s best just to tune in and enjoy.
photo Alison Harris