BGE Contemporary are delighted to present Meteorologica, a solo presentation by Øyvind Sørfjordmo. The exhibition will open on Wednesday February 23, and be on display until March 23, 2022.
Letting things happen on the premises of the painting characterizes Øyvind Sørfjordmo's practice. The painting's built-in whims, its attraction and repulsion, the alternation between light and darkness, are subject to an ever-changing temperature. He is a painter who does not mess with the medium, but with great energy, sense of form and colour sensitivity relentlessly tests what the painting can accommodate and radiate. Sørfjordmo's new paintings appear as sparks of speedy painting process than what he has worked with before. Meteorologica as an exhibition creates a temporary and atmospheric collective.
Soft brush strokes are contrasted with something harder, and the media's tropics are set in motion. Abstract and coloristic references flourish in Sørfjordmo's paintings: indicators towards painterly masters include Andreas Eriksson, Asger Jorn and Per Kirkeby. A Nordic “Forest floor” mentality, with an eye for lasting nuances, rooted texture and topographical patchwork, is sharpened against expressive picturesque edges and angles. Big gestures from the 1980s and exaggerated use of colour, represented by an artist like Rolf Hanson, are never far away.
Only to a certain point does the process seem controlled and systematic; each artwork appears to have its internal structure, a compositional battle plan. Outlined basic shapes in oilstick can, in negotiation with the brushstrokes, just as easily be displaced and disappear as confirmed. The lines slide above and below. Some paintings are treated as sketches, where the shapes almost mutate. They stretch out and repeat themselves. Star shapes and jagged lines form energy fields, but the lustre that surrounds them is often dirty – some parts have undergone a rough treatment and become ugly and stubborn. Several of the paintings contain something explosive and wild that threatens constructivist principles and disrupts forms in ornamental elements. Small slits stand out from the purely nonfigurative and give ambivalent form to something vaguely recognizable, objects, architecture and plants in a painterly world. A white flower in a vase thus acts as the idea flower multiplied into a shape generator that has run wild.
Sørfjordmo describes his paintings as “walk-ons” in his own world, in a kind of stage room. They are rigged with straight lines replaced by ruins. Portals and barriers perform side by side. As the artist sees it, the construction and dynamics of each painting revolve around two protagonists in interaction and potential battle - one bends to the other, showing something off. Pro and contra. There is an approach to debris and glitter, gold paint has lost its splendour and it oozes oil paint and turpentine. The play is scenic without posing, and occasionally takes place on rough canvas that works both against and with the strokes. Sørfjordmo insists on his chosen material: the surface, the brush strokes, the baselines and the colour deposits.
The title of the exhibition is the Latin word for meteorology, and several of the paintings have been given titles according to various weather and sky phenomena. Meteorologica is also the name of Aristotle's book on weather phenomena. Aristotle is said to have defined meteorology as "everything that happens naturally, but less regularly than the primary element of material things, and it takes place in the area bordering the motion of the stars." The meteorology as an intended backdrop opens up some formal possibilities for Sørfjordmo. The instability of the weather can serve as a model for a picturesque character in change. Underlying currents ravage the air masses and lightning multiplies entire surfaces. The correspondence to Sørfjordmo's paintings is not emphatic - cloudy rather than illuminated.