Katalogtekst 2004 av Anne Kathrine Stangeland
(Artist statement 2004)


     Ever since I was a child, I have at times had a strange sensation in my mouth. And here I need to make a leap, in the risky direction of a transcendent knowledge. By gently pressing my molar teeth together I experience a feeling in my jaws, a perception of totality – a profound feeling of micro- and macrocosmos. The pressure seems to contain everything, leading to a feeling of being truly in the world. This bodily experience lingering into adulthood has somehow set me a high and partly incomprehensible artistic goal.

The sense (and memory) of this pressure in the jaws bridges over to painting, then, reminding me of the importance of sentience in creating. Creative processes concern both being in charge and being governed over. My work in the studio alternates between finding formal solutions with decisiveness, and openness to coincidences and mishaps, receptiveness to a move perhaps requiring an answer different to the one first planned. Control and critique, catastrophes and improvisations must melt together. Until the painting, if successful, gradually withdraws into itself, having by incomprehensible means acquired a life on its own.
My tiny enigmatic sensation in the jaw also links to the inexplicable sensation I get on encountering a piece of art that moves me.

In an article about Chardin Marcel Proust wrote that women do not need to know the art of medicine to give birth, “…because creative activities are not accomplished due to knowledge of their laws, but from an inexplicable obscure force that cannot be amplified by throwing light on it.”


People often ask me: “What are you painting?” The answer that comes to my mouth so easily is: “Nature!” No matter what I paint nature is my source and my starting point. It is the basic component for all who view the world. Nature is profound and intense, gigantic in format and illumination, a breeding ground for the painting where light and substance are the essentials.

There is a substantial, perceptible relationship between nature and painting, as if a painting bears in it a particular ability to represent the feeling for nature; and holds secret knowledge of nature’s own physical processes and properties. Working with a painting gives a sense of coming closer to the world, making contact with material reality; all the layers and accumulations of substance, rotting leaves, gurgling water, soil, flesh and blood. Huge volumes and minute details, ornaments, surfaces and underlying structures, shadow and light. Weather, temperature and atmosphere. I want to take hold of this physical reality, push colours and matter up against each other until signs of life appear, recognition or memory.

I feel as if I’m painting not only nature’s image but in nature’s image, mimicking the language of nature; surfaces battling, strokes crossing, dripping paint running and floating. Paint in layer upon layer, layer upon layer of thoughts. However the landscape paintings are not committed to a biotope or a view, but more to an idea or concept of nature. Likewise the figures and portraits are seldom tied to a certain person but to experiences of body, flesh and physiological processes. Paintings need not be true, but must be sincere, genuine and trustworthy.

Nature is substance and matter, open to our inner voices. Our moods and experiences expand nature’s meaning. A painting must be able to be seen both as isolated, and as an organized place for the spectator with the life of his own to meet the creation with, and invest his own thoughts, without thinking of the originator.

My work is by intuition and almost without plan; I paint what I feel appetite for. But I do set off with a theme or motif, believing it may lead me into a gilded state where emotions and skill, intuition and intellect work together. My motifs are simple and common. No mysteries, no sensations. Just paint

I often think that I should come to the paintings better-planned, more determined. All the layers, corrections and mind-changings have however become important to me. The lengthy process builds the painting, all the tracks that lie totally or partially hidden under the surface. I create my own terrain, evolving my topography, and the process takes as long as it takes.

Anne Kathrine Stangeland
September 2004
Translated by Morten Vanberg and Sebastian Schloessingk