Therese Nordtvedt’s paintings of celebrity’s children were sourced from the pages of Hello and Heat, but the artist has surpassed her clever mission, with an unforced strangeness masquerading as the familiar.
02/12/2003 :: Pollock Fine Art/popmodart.com hosts a UK exhibition of new paintings by Therese Nortvedt from November 2 - December 18.
Masquerade as a visual strategy comes naturally to Nortvedt, who studied theatre design at the English National Opera following a stint at Central St.Martins from 1977-78. Her subsequent travels and work stays in New York, Latin America, France and Dubai resulted in a eclecticism ranging from Latin folk art, French Symbolists (especially Gustave Moreau), Persian miniatures, and that one-man art movement Edward Munch.
With authority, Nortvedt had developed her personal mythological landscape, peopled with the fantastic and the heroic. She was recognised as one of Norway ’s more celebrated painters of the 80 ’s and 90 ’s, and certainly had made waves in the mostly male dominated art establishment of Scandinavia.
In the year 2000 she stood of all this on its head, when she began her exciting series of works based on the JFK funeral and a half dozen paintings of JFK junior. The distancing devices that usually accompany pop appropriations might have seemed at odds with Nortvedt ’s natural depth of expression and painterly fluid style.
Just as pop art was never totally successful in banishing brushwork (think early and late Warhol, Lichtenstein, Hockney and Jasper Johns) Nortvedt plunders the movements better attributes and twists them into an almost dyslexic state of suspension.
This serves her continuing intention of altering the viewer ’s state of mind. Since relocating to North London in 2001, Nortvedt has focused on paintings of children. Nortvedt ’s works
are created from a completely different psychological scale than most art. Paintings derived from photographs taken by paparazzi, not of Madonna, Posh and Becks or Michael Jackson, but of their children, may seem intrusive or exploitive but in Nortvedt ’s hands become as empathetic as a pieta.
And like a pieta, the children depicted have an aura, but the exact contents of that ethereal glow are not revealed. The voyeurism is not of the usual celebrity sort, but it still speaks volumes about our society ’s values. Nortvedt ’s work also questions why one would even recognise an image of Lourdes or Rocco. Once past the novelty of identity, the images reverberate from a core force, more then their surface fame.
Pollock Fine Art
22 Laystall St. ECIR 4PA
Wes.-Fri. 12-6 or by appointment
27 November v- 18 December 2003
Tel. 07946 220 727 or 0207 837 2101