ArtHelix is proud to present the work of Mari Rantanen and Shingo Francis in an exhibition in our main gallery.
-Codes of Color, Sites for Emotions-
Rantanen is a Finnish artist who has been living and working in Stockholm for almost 20 years. Her paintings reflect her interest in architecture and places or sites that people have constructed. The history and presence of visual culture, the different systems and patterns that make life visible at these sites, as well as what is seen in everyday life, are evident in her work. Rantanen combines motifs from numerous cultures, creating what she hopes are exceptional places and spaces for emotions.
Mari Rantanen’s tries to organize chaos and intentionally disturb any order in her work, all the while integrating the languages of painting as she concurrently juxtaposes them. Her desire is one of making paintings that reflect a pluralist culture, that tell a story, and have a narrative.
Through the painting process, Rantanen creates surfaces that express the more positive side of life, hope and joy, surfaces that are sensual, colors that are vibrant. She attempts to capture light and produce a palpable sense of energy, working to make the visible more visible and to give form and color to that which is not immediately visible in her highly structured paintings.
The five large painted ovals in this exhibition are part of an ongoing series of “portraits” that Rantanen began in 2011 while on a fellowship in Rome 2011. She asserts that these paintings offer a visual and mental place for women. Inspired by her favorite women artists, each painting shares the first initial from the name of one of these artists, as a homage. Rantanen is conceptually connecting her work to the ways women make their lives perceptible.
Mari Rantanen’s work is in the private and public collections of most all Nordic countries. She is also represented in numerous collections in Germany, England, Holland, as well as the United States. In 2015 she will be included in an exhibition Dark Days, Light Nights at the Kemper Art Museum in Kansas City, Missouri.
Francis was raised in both Los Angeles and Tokyo, and currently works in Brooklyn, NY. He works in painting, drawing and large-scale drawing installations utilizing oil, acrylic and watercolor paints. Francis’ recent work explores the use of line, space and color as a means of boundaries and their psychological, cultural and social relationship, and how they affect or don’t affect our interaction with people, places and things in our environment and lives.
From the artist:
"My work is an investigation into time, space and color. My work gives the viewer a sense of scale in regards to our natural environment that surrounds us everyday, but can be lost in our daily preoccupations. The horizontal composition is a timeless image that represents not only the landscape, but a boundary where the horizon ends. A vanishing point of sights end and also of time. We are limited in space and time in that we can only experience one day at a time and be in one place at a time although we have created many instruments to simulate different times and places. Tools such as photographs freeze time and refer to the past, or the telephone, and internet to simulate concurrent places. These are tools with a purpose, but can have psychological and emotional hooks that can distract us from our present time and place. My works are a critique of the desire to be in more than one place at a time, and the inability to be in the present."