Kristiina Uusitalo creates large oil paintings in which the revelatory nature of the landscape intertwines with signs of environmental change. At the heart of the works is that moment of realisation when the old and the new are simultaneously present. Although the paintings are firmly grounded in the artist’s personal life, the perceptions, visions and experiences they convey are recognisable to us all.
“I am convinced that we share a common dimension of consciousness. What speaks vividly to me can also be meaningful to the viewer. I try to make visible the forces that are bigger than us. Although I work in detachment from myself and my time, I am also utterly connected to these very conditions of existence.
My paintings portray the movements and sounds the inner world makes under the intense pressure of the outer world. We are unable to control the enormous forces that surround us, even though we try. The changing world rolls past us and over us in unrecognisable shapes. I try to find an expression for that event, one that would speak for us while also expressing hope.
My aim is to paint so that light becomes a force. I would like to infuse my paintings with the sense of a soaring melody. When an opera singer sings that they will die without their loved one, love smiles in their voice. A picture can convey that same feeling. I would like to enfold the viewer in light, yet the only way to make light shine is by showing shadows as well. We all have a burden that can be turned into art by the desire to give it expression. For me, painting is a place for life at its most authentic, life that is unspoken yet becomes more recognisable when it acquires a form. A contrast or a movement can be the key that opens the inner door.”
Kristiina Uusitalo (b.1959) is a Helsinki-based painter who has been developing her own distinctive style since the 1980s. Her paintings are the result of a long and persistent process, adapting the language of contemporary art to the genre of landscape painting. Life, poetry, experiences and imaginings, and a growing concern for the current state of nature, can all be read in her work.
Kristiina Uusitalo’s work has been supported by the Finnish Cultural Foundation.