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You danced on the carpet and waited for her. Una grande Sophie Westerlind a Colonia

You danced on the carpet and waited for her. Sophie Westerlind
You danced on the carpet and waited for her. Sophie Westerlind

Sophie Westerlind sbarca a Colonia, in Germania, dopo i successi italiani. Qui di seguito il comunicato stampa della prestigiosa galleria Borbert Arns di Colonia:

We are delighted to announce the representation and first exhibition of artist Sophie Westerlind. Her show „You danced on the carpet and waited for her“ will open at Galerie Norbert Arns on 17th March 2023. The show will present mainly portrait paintings. Portraits of family members and friends are combined with paintings of rooms or places, which are connected to the people who live there. The vibrating spirit of her paintings follows her studies at the museums where she confronts herself with old masters by drawing pastels of their works.

My artistic practice centers on the question of mark-making. I use a variety of materials to achieve this: oil pastels for drawing, oil for painting. In recent years my work has particularly concentrated on the figure of the nude via in-person sittings and self-portraiture. My nudes are not erotic but vulnerable and collaborative. My approach is time and location-specific, and also shaped by colour, mood atmosphere and natural light. Photographs, both digital and analogue, are central, allowing for attunement to the subtleties of texture and emotion via brushwork. Photographs from friends and family provide intimate aide-memoires. As a Swedish artist who studied in London for six years before moving to Venice to study anatomy and painting, “home” is three different countries. Still, I thrive in different environments and residencies crucially help me to push myself and experiment with my work.

You danced on the carpet and waited for her. Sophie Westerlind

Sophie Westerlind has exhibited solo and collectively in Stockholm at the Museum of Antiquities and Liljevalchs Konsthall, in Paris at Galerie Italienne, Galerie Ariane C-Y, Cité internationale des arts, in Bratislava at Gandy Gallery, in London at Central Saint Martins’ College, the Royal College of Art, the Centre for Recent Drawing C4RD, in Milan at Tommaso Calabro Gallery, Artcurial, Società Umanitaria, State Of, Teatro deSidera/Casa Testori, in Venice at Galleria Michela Rizzo, Fondation Valmont, Palazzo Malpiero, in Fano at Rocca Malatestiana, in Pergola at Casa Sponge, in Reggio Emilia at Spazio Neutro, in Feltre at Museo Diocesano di Belluno-Feltre, in Pieve di Cadore at Forte di Montericco, and in Livorno at Museo Giovanni Fattori.

Selected residencies and workshops include Cité internationale des arts, Lido Contemporaneo, Fincantieri and Venice Galleries View, Dolomiti Contemporanee, Ritrovarsi, and the Royal College of Art/London Zoo.

Sophie Westerlind (*1985 in Stockholm) studied painting in London and Venice and lives and works between Venice and Stockholm.
You danced on the carpet and waited for her. Sophie Westerlind

Sophie Westerlind’s paintings offer a profound exploration of the complexities of the human body and its many stages of life. Her work focuses on the recurring themes of the female form, body language, and the ways in which we use movement to express ourselves. Through her art, Westerlind seeks to delve deep into the nuances of how we inhabit our bodies, and how we communicate with others through physicality.

She uses loose, bold, and dynamic brush strokes, which create a sense of movement in her paintings, capturing the intensity of the human experience. The fast way of working, the fluidity and spontaneity in how she uses only one brush mark to create a shape, gives her paintings a sense of immediacy and vitality.

Westerlind’s works are deeply personal. She portrays friends and family members directly from life or from photographs. She imbues each subject with dignity and respect, capturing their unique spirit and tenderness of personality with an unwavering gaze. Her use of colour and light creates depth and texture that draws the viewer in and transmits intimacy between the subject and the audience. As she grapples with the complexities of human relationships, she grants the viewer access to her own emotional world. Her work is as much about the act of painting, as it is about the act of observing and capturing fleeting emotional states of her own, of the sitter and the relation between them.

You danced on the carpet and waited for her. Sophie Westerlind

With a sense of warmth and familiarity, her paintings of interior spaces encapsulate the essence of domesticity, as they tell stories about the people who inhabit those rooms. “Perhaps interiors are the most successful portraits because they reveal so much about the individuals who occupy them, their thoughts, feelings, and unique personalities”, she says.

The work Self-portrait at Cité des Arts in Paris (2022) marks her first self-portrait since Fine Art School. Westerlind examines her identity and own emotional state which requires a level of vulnerability and honesty, as the artist exposes her inner self to the viewer. She initiates a painterly and conceptual conversation that explores the complex duality between the subject and the artist. This dynamic interplay is captured through the tension between self-possession and self-scrutiny, inviting the viewer to reflect on the inherent paradox of artistic expression.

Her flower paintings are suffused with echoes and resonances of passing time, which in turn points to the poignancy and essential melancholy of the medium. Yet, for Westerlind, solace can be found in the consoling beauty of nature and in the flow of time that connects us all.

You danced on the carpet and waited for her. Sophie Westerlind

The exhibition also includes a group of drawings in oil-pastel created during her residency in Paris at Cité Internationale des Arts in collaboration with Konstakademien in 2022. These show details of powerful paintings by great masters such as The Massacre at Chios by Delacroix she had the opportunity to study at the Louvre. Westerlind’s perception and emotional state were greatly affected by the breakout of the Ukrainian war that translated into drawings with a lighter touch, leaving blank spots and using fewer colors. Only when turning to paintings by Rubens, revelling in exaggerated male bodies and satirical elements, her drawings became more vibrant, alive, and powerful. Westerlind’s works depict a constant search for self-expression and reflection through the study of the past and present representation of the human body and the space it inhabits.

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