DAVID BURNETT, Curator International Art, Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art. SPEECH, Hervey Bay Regional Gallery 9 April 2010 at The Exibition "Existence".
"When I was asked to open this exhibition of Liv Grønlund’s work I was initially struck by the geographical separation of the artist’s homeland and culture and Australia where she visited and studied. With further thought I could see that both locations share a rich and diverse history of myth, legend and story telling. The Nordic culture is steeped in folklore and often dark, gothic tales while the indigenous cultures of Australia have a unique body of myth and stories which tell of transformation and spectacular acts of creation.
Liv has cited the colour of the Australian landscape as partially inspiring the current body of work on display and if we look closely, it is very apparent. The ambiguity of forms and the treatment of colour in her work has something of the inherent ancient mystery of the Australian landscape, particularly those outside of the urban spaces.
In Liv’s work, this response to colour and the spirit of the Australian landscape is also merged and married to art historical and stylistic traditions of symbolism and surrealism — conventions that draw some of their inspiration from the imaginative and phantasmagorical dimensions of folklore, myth and legend. The Surrealists in fact, during the 1920s under the leadership of Andre Breton actually devised an imaginary map of the world in which Australia figured prominently, much larger than all of Europe and the Americas. Such was their attraction to the unknown and the mystery of ancient indigenous cultures.
The Surrealists also sought, and often revealed the extraordinary in everyday life. They frequented flea markets in search of objects and texts that were imbued with mystery and patinated by the past — what Breton referred to as ‘the marvellous’. Some of this extraordinary and unexpected dimension is very evident in Liv’s work.
Her work is not didactic or illustrative but rather uses the process of making paintings as a source for developing her unique and strangely beautiful imagery. Any practitioners among you would realise and recognise the unique potential for invention that arises from allowing certain materials such as paint and lithographic ink on stone to simply be themselves. Rather than attempt to control these almost alchemical materials many artists throughout history and currently, exploit their qualities — the liquid, viscous nature of paint, the sticky texture of ink, the crumbling dryness of charcoal — to make unexpected marks and achieve results and effects that are completely of their own making.
Liv has used the materials she works with as catalysts for forms and images which constitute the strange quasi-narratives of her paintings. There is a dialogue between the processes of lithography and painting in which one feeds into and off the other while retaining characteristics unique to both mediums. Madonna and saints, lions and bees, accidental portraits and ghostly spectres populate her canvases in ways that probably could not be predetermined even if one tried. Her vision is peppered with images of brutality, power and suffering but also tempered with light, tenderness and hope.
Such is Liv’s talent and insight as an artist — knowing when to stop, when to leave something alone to find its own life. Her work is at a transitional point where she draws on a more illustrative dimension of earlier work while simultaneously having the courage to take risks, experiment, fail but ultimately to move forward. Painting is always a conversation with the past, whether one’s own or that of others and at the same time a journey into an unknown future. To open the doors of that future through imaginative and creative acts is the challenge and calling that a courageous artist will rise to. I think Liv Grønlund has that courage".
Allgemeines Künstlerlexicon, Band 62 "Existence"
Craft Arts International no 77, "Images of Eixistence", pp 100 and 102
Craft Arts International no 31, p 103, "The Images of Liv S. Grønlund" by Curator Art Lindsay Anderson
Kunst, No 2 2008, pp 17-19
Foreword of the catalogue "Existence" pp 3 og 4 by Åsmund Thorkildsen, director and art historian, Drammen Museum
Craft Arts International no 23, pp 76,77, 78, "Picures from an Imaginary World" by Marie Geissler, "The universal symbols of the subconscious mind are the dynamic imagery source behind the compelling surrealistic paintings and screenprints of Liv Grønlund."