Galerie Forsblom April 7 – April 29, 2017
Opening with the artist in attendance, April 6, 2017 at 5.00 – 7.00 pm
Soft dabs of the brush are transformed into sharp geometrical shapes in the oil paintings of Stig Baumgartner (b. 1969), whose work is inspired by private experiences and memories. The titles often refer to real people, who are symbolically represented on the canvas as abstract figures. He treats the background as a landscape, or as pure light that pierces through the foregrounded figure to tickle the viewer’s retina. His paintings are infused with a dynamic sense of something having just happened or something about to happen. The elements in the composition variably seem to keep opening or closing, or at other times they stand immovably in place or appear to be on the brink of collapse. The colors, too appear to be in a perpetual state of flux, existing on the verge of either igniting or being extinguished. The mood or feeling conveyed by the colors is of key importance to Baumgartner, who thumbs his nose at the traditional modernist pursuit of sublime transcendence by painting familiar and even mundane subject matter.
Despite their rationalistic dimensions, his works cannot be described as purely constructivist. Baumgartner makes no clear distinction between geometrical constructivism and abstract expressionism: both schools of painting have both an emotion-driven and intellect-driven side.
Baumgartner’s works are found in Finland’s leading museums, including the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, the Amos Anderson Art Museum and Helsinki Art Museum. He has won awards including the William Thuring Prize in 2011. He completed a PhD in Fine Arts in 2015 and serves as a lecturer in drawing and perception at the Academy of Fine Arts Helsinki.