Monday 4 March 2013

Olav Christopher Jenssen - Abstract Painting and Ikebana

I ran into an ikebana related painting when I stopped at one of Oslo's leading art galleries the other day. Norwegian painter Olav Christopher Jenssen's exhibition at Galleri Riis in Oslo consists of selected works from two new series of large scale paintings Panorama Second Generation and The Letharia Paintings. In addition there is also room with a series of smaller Grenadine Paintings, and this is were I found the painting titled Ikebana.

Ikebana / Grenadine Paintings, 2011
Olav Christopher Jenssen: Ikebana / Grenadine Paintings, 2011
Ikebana is a typical abstract Jenssen painting with many layers of paint partly covering each other. The title still makes me look for a more figurative reference. Is the green shape a vase? What do the read lines represent? The exhibition text invites further exploration: "The paintings open up a philosophical space for dialogue and reflection, encouraging the viewer to unveil strata of paint and decipher cryptic symbols, as on an archaeological journey through the hundred year history of abstract painting". 

The painting made me curious. What experiences lies behind this reference to the art of ikebana? What meanings do the concept of ikebana have to a contemporary abstract painter? What layers do you see in the painting?

The exhibition OLAV CHRISTOPHER JENSSEN Panorama Second Generation / The Letharia Paintings runs until March 10 at Galleri Riis in Oslo.

If you want more stimulation you're also welcome to visit earlier blogposts on ikebana as a motive in modern art. The story about ikebana in the pop art of Andy Warhol should make a nice contrast to Olav Christopher Jenssen.

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