Eveliina Hämäläinen is interested in seeing and in the types of immediate experience that can be generated with the gaze alone. In her new exhibition, Path, she has been inspired by her own nocturnal wanderings and by the impressions she has gathered along the way. In a series of large, dark oil paintings she leads the viewer into a whispering, thicketed landscape.
When darkness has fallen and our eyesight has grown weaker, our other senses take over, imagination is set in motion, and the experience of place is intensified. It is such experience processes that Hämäläinen takes up in her new series of paintings. They become landscape painting that is not out to bear witness to the visually spectacular in the landscape, instead, she turns her gaze inwards to an intimate physical encounter with the place and its surroundings. The only guiding light in the paintings is the moon; it is not depicted as such, but in its faint monochrome light we can make out leaves, roots and branches filling the entire surface of the canvas. In Path Hämäläinen also employs movement as a device for reinforcing the sense of the vegetation being animated. She uses serene compositions to lure the tentative gaze into an enveloping, welcoming darkness.
Hämäläinen’s working method is intuitive and her encounter with the painting more a matter of what the painting gives back than of what she herself brings to it. From a technical standpoint her subtractive painting takes shape like the image on an exposed and developed film. Hämäläinen begins with a dark surface, so as subsequently to obliterate the area of colour; she releases light into the picture and the motif slowly begins to emerge.
In conjunction with the Path exhibition Hämäläinen has worked at The Croft, Pro Artibus’ residence in Tammisaari.
Eveliina Hämäläinen, MFA (b. 1984) graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in 2013. She works with painting and land art. Her works have recently been shown in the exhibitions: Night Garden, Galleria Huuto, Helsinki 2019; Healing Garden, Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art, New York 2019; Goodbye Kiss, Kulttuurikellari, Savonlinna 2018; and Pelastus & Rangaistus, Aine Art Museum, Tornio 2018. Hämäläinen’s works are in the collections of the Finnish National Gallery and Kone Foundation.
This exhibition has been supported by The Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland and Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike).
The artist would like to thank The Croft – Pro Artibus Tammisaari & Örö Island Residency Programme.
Image: Eveliina Hämäläinen, Lähtö, 2019. Detail. Oil on canvas, 250×200.