Marius Engstrom – Painter
Marius Engstrom was born in 1975 in Oslo, Norway. He currently lives and works in Oslo, where he has recently relocated back to after spending a year in Seville, Spain. Engstrom had his first solo show in 2004, and started exhibiting regularly at the well established “Galleri Haaken” in Oslo in 2007. Engstrom has since then shown work in various countries, as well as organized and co-curated big exhibitions in London and Lisbon.
Around the time Engstrom started his art practice, theoretical and conceptual art were the major forces in the art climate of Northern Europe. Trained as a portrait and still life painter, Engstrom embarked on his own journey, aiming to combine conceptual thinking with a desire to bring emotional depth and painterly sensibility into his work. Engstrom often works in series, thus exploring certain themes or aesthetic possibilities in a number of paintings. This conceptual strategy is combined with an awareness of the opportunities that arise during the painting process, and a willingness to change the original disposition. He provides his audience with an interesting opportunity of both an intellectual and an emotional experience.
Engstrom depicts the everyday world around him and chooses images that often convey a sense of solitude and introversion. This solitude can be related to the desire of the individual that is still at the center of our society at the moment, and the emphasis on individual success and an “every man for himself” attitude. Engstrom’s paintings can be interpreted as a reflection, a criticism, or simply a pictorial description of a personal experience.
In his recent series of paintings, light seems to play a dominant role. Engstrom is examining the way light appears to us physically and what it does to us mentally. He takes his audience to dim pathways and alleys, and reveals little of what might be hidden in the dark. His simplifies and transforms his images to an almost minimalistic expression. Some elements can be altered to such a degree that the original reality of the image is hardly recognizable, thus opening for various interpretations. This is a key point in Engstrom’s art. He creates sceneries or environments the spectator can use as a point of departure for an individual experience. He offers a trancelike, Lynchian universe where mind, imagination and emotions can work freely, without the necessity of intellectual explanation. With sensitive brushwork and delicate use of color, Engstrom’s paintings communicate something enigmatic and unsaid with a subdued expressionism.