The presence of unexpected elements adds fresh layers of meaning to the landscape genre in Kaarlo Stauffer’s (b. 1988) new oil paintings. Stauffer composes his paintings like a collage, extracting random details from a nonstop visual stream and linking them in surprising combinations. The events, people and animals he transplants in his landscapes disrupt the harmony of the scene, while also stirring up surprising mental associations. The landscape itself serves as both a physical space and a metaphorical platform upon which a variety of visual motifs are inscribed.
The exhibition draws inspiration from the artist’s private photographs, the paintings that hung on the walls of his childhood home, an old book about hiking in Lapland, and vintage illustrations of animals. Although the compositions seem like an arbitrary concoction of haphazard elements, his paintings have powerful autobiographical content reflecting goings-on in the world around the artist.
Stauffer’s style has been described as static expressionism, a term that expressively summarizes his ability to simultaneously paint with great precision and generous abandon. The ostensibly carefree brushwork belies a highly gifted draughtsman who is able to capture a dynamic sense of movement with a few cleverly placed strokes of the brush. The rich brushwork and intriguing details ensnare the viewer in an immersive experience. Stauffer graduated from Helsinki’s Academy of Fine Arts in 2014. He artist lives and works in Helsinki.