Kerttu Saali: Time of Light
Galerie Forsblom 11.3.– 3.4.2022
Kerttu Saali's (b. 1994) new paintings evolved within an organic continuum that began in 2018. For Saali, the most important thing about painting is freedom: She nearly always paints without a plan or goal. Focal to her process are the basic elements of painting: color, light, and form. She is influenced conceptually and stylistically by earlier painters, such as the Impressionists, and the treatment of light. In addition, Saali is inspired by powerful sensory experiences such as sunlight streaming through branches in a thick forest or rays dancing on the water's rippling surface. But, unlike the Impressionists, Saali adheres to an entirely abstract idiom – non-verbality is what intrigues her about painting. Her works always capture something beyond the reach of words, and it is the unconscious side of artwork has fascinated Saali ever since she began painting. Through her paintings, she hints at the existence of something ineffable, and in doing so, she reveals how paintings speak their unique language.
Last year Saali expanded her practice from oil painting to wood carving. Her carved picture frames are like extensions of her paintings, which appear to spill outside the boundaries of the linen canvas. Although woodcarving and oil painting are slow processes requiring time and patience, Saali is interested in how these organic but technically different materials communicate as an intertwined unit. Instead of marginalizing the frame as secondary to the painting, Saali makes it a visible and equal part of a larger artistic entity.
Saali is a student at Helsinki's Academy of Fine Arts. Her previous solo exhibition was at Helsinki's Project Room. Saali has participated in numerous group exhibitions, including Gumbostrandt Konst&Form in Sipoo and Glasshouse in Helsinki. Her work is found in many private collections and the public collections of the Saastamoinen Foundation, the City of Tampere, and the Permanent Representation of Finland to the EU in Brussels. The artist is based in Helsinki.