Tamara Piilola

Daytime Astronomy


August 17–September 16, 2018

Tamara Piilola

For the Love of Science, 2018

Oil and tempera on canvas

170 x 240 cm / 66.93 x 94.49 inches


Press Release

What if you were looking at the world for the very first time? Would your gaze be filled with respect? What if a deer, caught by surprise, were to open its mouth to speak? What if you discovered every plant and creature you encountered to be an intelligent being?  - Tamara Piilola


Tamara Piilola (b. 1977) engages in a conceptual play revolving around the relationship between art and science. Art has the power to transport us to different worlds, as does astronomy; the wonders of art and science offer a similar sense of aesthetic satisfaction. An artist might contemplate science while painting at the easel, and an astrophysicist might see art while examining the composition of the universe.


Piilola describes starry skies as a metaphor for the mystery of painting. The eye cannot discern stars by daylight, but we can imagine their presence. When the sun sets, they begin to twinkle, yet even so, stars are difficult to fathom: we recognize what they are without fully understanding them. These are things we can grasp only through our imagination and vision, much in the same way as artistic ideas are born. Piilola looks at the world of ideas as something sacred and wondrous. Her paintings are a tribute to nature and the continuity of life.


For Piilola, light is the essential element of painting, followed by colors and their materiality. She fills the canvas with densely applied layers of paint, contrasting bright lights with dark shadows, occasionally including graphic motifs that permeate the picture planes like decorative patterns.


Piilola studied painting at the Turku Drawing School, the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki, and at the Leipzig Hochschule für Buchkunst. Her work is found in many significant collections including the Sara Hildén Art Museum, the Helsinki Art Museum HAM, the Wäinö Aaltonen Museum and the Didrichsen Art Museum. The artist lives and works in Helsinki.