Review in the art paper ‘Kunstavisen’ March 2013

The extremes meet ….

by Preben Winther

In the outskirts of Kerteminde town center, a couple of roads from the habour, lies an old public building, somewhat modest stately, with two floors, iron frames and yellow-washed walls. This is the former custom house where the art society ‘Kerteminde Kunstforening’ now is housed. According to today’s standards, the rooms are not big, apart from one on the first floor, but there is a good ceiling height, and the old wooden floors, many corners and stairway endow everything with an atmosphere in the best sense of the word.

Essentially different expressions

Kerteminde Kunstforening has to its latest exhibition invited two totally different artists to form a couple. “My works are inspired by the beautiful landscape surrounding Kerteminde, not a particular place”, says the locally settled Hanne Andersen (b. 1956). Lene Sandvang, Hillerød, (b. 1963) lets herself be influenced by the many expressions and impressions of the cities and is especially fascinated by an artist like Jean-Michel Basquiat and by street art. She has been involved in numerous projects within pictorial art and been the instructor of painting workshops.Is it so that one should stick to ones own class after all, or rather – when extreme people meet, sweet music fills the heart?

Actually, the exhibition in its entirety has turned out to be quite exciting. The two artists have chosen to exhibit their works in different rooms on the ground floor, but in the big room upstairs, they have dared to confront each other. It is not so bad at all. Their essentially different expressions make them bring out the individuality and special characteristics of one another, and any sort of competition between the two is quite unthinkable.

Strength and weakness

Hanne Andersen spends a lot of time in nature, and that is where she gets the raw material for her paintings. She sees and senses out in the open, but when all the experiences are to be transferred to the linen, it takes place in the studio. In nature, she obviously meets, consciously or unconsciously, the endless row of landscape painters which preceded her in the history of art. But her own contribution to the art is let into her special niche.

Hanne Andersen is at her best, when she with an almost humble honesty lets quite a simple landscape vision unfold itself in the picture area, using a putty knife for scratching, scraping and filling out until the right motive has occurred, in a way so moderate that can bring you in doubt about the presence of the landscape, apart from the one in the artist’s own soul. With a hint of a horizon on a far distance, maybe, or some bravely surrendered colour threads which have been splashed on the linen from underneath and create a perfect illusion of grasses in close-up, without being so anyway. Her weaker point is when she tries to make a landscape at full extent, where rose, very yellow, very green and far too blue colours collide in something that never reaches much beyond the sympathetic preliminary notes which need to be further processed. You may wonder why Hanne Andersen doesn’t weed out some paintings from her production with a firm hand, when the fact is that she can really paint, and quite well too.

“Nothing is sacred”

Lene Sandvang, for her part, finds it much more difficult to make any demands for the selection and for the character of the expression. Basically, she is painting one big work all the time no matter how many linens are involved. The colours are wild and they are used in a reckless way. She samples symbols and tropes and figures, she sprinkles sentences and words in wherever they fit in and don’t fit in. Plus Chinese written characters (and she has also been taught Chinese). The approach of the artist is that of graffiti and street art, but when it comes to style, she is herself.

With enthusiasm, she announces that one of her bon mots is that EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE, and that one of her favourite suggestions for the participants at her workshops is STEAL FROM EACH OTHER! “Nothing is sacred”, she admits with a big smile.

This is highly reflected in her paintings too, and paradoxically, they therefore exude this special form of purity that may strike you when the energy and joy of expressing outdo any approach of self-importanceness or philistinism. It is collages of impressions, fluttering about like a sound editing, picture communication at a level you don’t see everyday.

 

The exhibition can be seen in Toldboden

Strandgade 3, Kerteminde

until 24 February

on Tuesday-Sunday 12.00 – 4.00 pm.