Anna-Maija Aarras is a textile artist known for unconventional and cross-cultural works whose forms and techniques seduce the viewer to consider the physicality of the material and recall personal memories of touch or smell, the refraction or pull of light. Presented in juxtaposition, the interplay of the works with light and space gives rise to installations with a powerful sense of presence.
Présence presents a collection of works created in 2020 specifically for this show along with earlier pieces. This dual exposure makes visible a continuum and a personal artistic philosophy, a steady or changing rhythm in Aarras’s output. “I continue to revisit the same simple forms in my work as before. They allow my materials and techniques to acquire the import and accents that I want. My aim therewith is to convey a memory awakened by the material without the viewer having to touch it.”
“On my travels I often buy materials that catch my eye. Back in the studio, they await for the proper moment: the maturation of the concept, shape, and technique. I use print fabrics or unicoloured surfaces of fine velvet, silk, or brocade to establish a dialogue with the form. The intrinsic content and character of the material steers me to use certain techniques and forms, such as the way the material absorbs or reflects light and changes its hue depending on the viewing angle.
“My process requires sustained commitment, as in the case of surfaces that are produced with repetitive stitches. The action is meditative, and the materials that I use offer visual and tactile pleasure during the making of the work.”
Visual artist, MFA, Anna-Maija Aarras (b. 1948) is a textile artist from Turku who has had a long career. She has held numerous exhibitions of her work both in Finland and internationally. Her works can be regarded equally as conceptual, sculptural or installation art. Aarras is the recipient of the first Dahlström Eminentia prize awarded by the Turku Art Museum in 2019. The lifetime achievement award of 15,000 euro is presented once every three years from the Ellen and Magnus Dahlström Bequest Fund administered by the Åbo Akademi Foundation. The prize also includes an exhibition in the Studio space at Turku Art Museum.
This exhibition is supported in part by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture.