Susanne Gottberg: Gleam and Gaze
Galerie Forsblom, 8.4.–9.5.2021
Susanne Gottberg’s (b. 1964) paintings take us on a meditative journey into a complex dominion of sensory impressions and emotional states. Her art travels non-linear paths into spatially born dimensions of reality that waver somewhere between abstraction and representation. Her paintings possess a multidimensional spatiality that acts as a mirror, throwing back the viewer’s reflection, yet the world in which her art resides is within the hermetic reality of the painting. Her art builds bridges between painted space and the surrounding physical space, yet the space paradoxically exists only upon the painted surface.
Gottberg’s art is a meditation on the fundamental nature of reflections. The artist plays with different kinds of reflections and the worlds they conjure forth. Sometimes the reflections are captured faithfully, at other times, they are invoked as a pure illusion. Paintings tend to mask reality, leaving it up to our senses to deduce what is real and what is not. We harness our senses as we navigate our way through Gottberg’s paintings, sometimes stumbling upon clues pointing to the presence of someone or something. Through these clues, the issue of the gaze crawls into her work. Through her art, Gottberg has given much thought to the role of the gaze, which has emerged as a key theme in her art. Her paintings have a distinctly corporeal presence. Their anatomy resonates with a reality that feels almost menacing. The depth of experience they convey awakens feelings of fear and vulnerability.
Gottberg has described her paintings as an event. They open and close, approach and recede, and the composition always has a particular rhythm and upward propelling dynamic. This sense of upward movement is underscored by the illusions of light that Gottberg captures, which are an event unto themselves. The light shines from within the painting, gaining intensity as it shoots upwards, though sometimes it exists only on a conceptual level.
Gottberg graduated from Finland’s Academy of Fine Arts in 1989 and held her debut exhibition in Helsinki that same year. She received the Finnish Art Society’s Ducat Prize in 1991 and was chosen as Finland’s Young Artists of the Year in 1994. She has held numerous solo exhibitions in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, France, and Spain. Her work is found in many famous collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki Art Museum HAM, the Amos Anderson Art Museum, and the Trondheim Art Museum.