Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ornulf Opdahl (Audrey's Pick)

Ornulf Opdahl is most widely known for his landscape work of his home country Norway. The beauty and simplicity of his paintings remind me of Eliza's pick, David Armstrong. Like Armstrong, Opdahl takes simple forms (which aren't necessarily simple images) of the environment in which he grew up and creates beautiful depictions of Norway's coasts. His paintings are not realistic like Armstrong's, however. Their abstract quality evokes intense atmosphere of Norway's ominous nature.

While these landscapes depict existing areas of the islands and coastlines, it appears as though Opdahl is seeing things in shapes instead of as cliffs or valleys or oceans, which gives the paintings that abstract sensation. Something that always impresses me about an artist is the ability to generate such power with a subtle shape or form mixed with color and light. With these shapes and wintry tones, Opdahl creates such mysterious dreary qualities for the viewer. However, there is always a luminescence in the landscape, whether it's the sky or the reflection of light on the side of a mountain or in the snow, that warms these otherwise dark pictures.

Opdahl was born in 1944 and lives and works in western Norway, painting and drawing. He studied at the Norwegian Art Academy and began regularly exhibiting work soon after with figurative paintings which evolved into paintings of the natural world. A recent project he worked on consisted of sketching marine creatures while on board the RV G.O. Sars ship in 2004.

this foreign website offers a great selection of more brilliant images (but not textual information)

this is a really short neat clip of Opdahl at work and on the ship

1 comment:

Kate said...

I really enjoy these images. It seems to me that Opdahl provides somewhat of a modern take on Turner's 19th-century landscapes. Since his shapes are so ambiguous, his choice of markmaking becomes extremely significant...An interesting blend of realistic subjects communicated via abstracted marks.