A text of Anja Bjørshol   

 

Listen, you said. Look, you said. Are you looking? Are you listening? I am looking.

Surrounded by landscape. I close my eyes, and feel the smell of wet forest. Flower meadows. Salty sea.  

I hear the waves. In the forest? Is it true? Yes, you said. Everything will become true if only you want it badly enough. I want to. And the waves crash against the oak trees. The vines brush my skin. You walk with mountain boots on the beach and carry the surf board on your head. You never know what’s around the next corner, you said. I am learning. I am on top of the mountain, and I can still hear the ocean. Everything is possible. If only you want it badly enough. You never stop. In constant development. You listen. You learn. You share. Fearless. Pink and red were colors you once did not set against each other. Everything is allowed, you said. Do you think there are rules like that in nature? In nature, all the colors stand close together in all their glory. We are standing in your landscape. Enclosed by the colors, the shapes and the dancing lines. The surfaces that curve. Extending. Takes up space. Provides space. Space for us. Together. Feeling the wind in my hair. The scents of nature. Everything is there. It is like being punk in sneakers. I run into your landscape while listening to Girl in red singing You Stupid Bitch. Everyone is included, no one is excluded. You unite reason and playfulness. Feeling youth pumping in my chest. Fearless. But you know, we know, we are vulnerable. Look, you said. Listen! The power and the vulnerable in one. The color. Your palette testifies to eyes that see. That have seen. That senses. Operates. Exploration of format and time. You bring your landscape in. Where it is moving, and changing in one room after the other. Never the same.  Evolvement. Constantly changing. Practice practice practice. To become the best drummer in the world you also have to master dentistry for ants, I read from Onkel Monokkel when I was little. That’s how it is. You are standing on the top of the cliff, and you know that practice makes perfect. The traces behind you testify to sharp turns in the snow where hesitation is not allowed.  Above the blues you can hear the laughter which turns into tones in the sky, where the northern lights cast their magical light back in response. Everything is true You create this world for yourself. For us. In the art. In life. Right now. The magic of brushstrokes on raw canvas. Reality is created. Dreams are created. It swings. I sing, and dance into your enveloping colors. Punk in sneakers. Breathing. And knowing that there is hope. The hope in the art that shows the way and opens up, if only you dare. You dare. You are fearless. You play. You want to. And your landscape is open for us. For everyone. You bring us in. Thank you.

Translation Ingrid A. Tronstad

 

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Paintings that evoke forgotten memories

Written by Elisabeth Mathisen

 

I am standing in Kristin Romberg’s studio in Fredrikstad.  The large, oblong space is filled with paintings, from floor to ceiling.  Stretched canvases and cotton textiles mounted on walls and hanging from thin cords.  She invites me to lift the paintings that are hanging on top of each other, layer upon layer.  To move between the formats as if I were walking in a forest.  Romberg is known for her paintings of the atmosphere and energy of places.  

I see the sun glistening in between green shapes of leaves, renders of white strokes that remind me of milk, life-giving sources, forest, soil, shapes of rocks, and running water.  Even though Romberg’s imagery is abstract, my body’s memories are brought to life.  I sense landscapes and nature, smells, the sky and the sea, known as well as exotic spaces, the inner warmth of the earth.  The abstract shapes turn into close sensory experiences for the viewer.  The colors of the paintings are clear, but held in greens and browns, which for instance is broken by a pink shape, and a meeting occurs between light and dark, day and night, representing the cycle of nature.  The intensity of the colors is dominating Romberg’s pictorial universe.  Broad brushstrokes and the artist’s own finger strokes are visible in several of the paintings, a touch that points to the painting process itself and the performative that she invites us into.  The formats are large, I have to move my gaze and lift it to observe the whole subject, and in this way I get closer as a viewer, I get small in relation to the formats, and surrender to the life-giving energy of the colors.  The paintings ooze with fertility and abundance, a surplus, a belief in life and the healing power of nature, and the ability of painting to convey this power.  The motifs are both in motion and stationary, like a frozen moment, a memory of a journey to a place that you can subsequently feel.  Romberg’s paintings have this quality for me; they take me inward and inward, to places I have been to that I have forgotten in the time that has passed, experiences in nature that are awakened in the body’s memory, and to a new experience in this encounter.  I think of forests, oceans and moist soil, the sound of a bird, but I don’t see it, none of these elements are visible in Romberg’s abstract motifs, it is the associations that evoke the figurative memories, fine-tuned, lyrical and tactile.

Translation Ingrid A. Tronstad

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B E L O N G

 

Through my paintings I seek to express the wonder and curiosity I feel about nature and the world I live in.

My work is an intuitive improvisation of nature. Through the relationship of colors, shapes, and marks, through rhythm and balance,

and the physical as well as the psychological act of painting, each picture develops into a unique expression. Through visual ideas,

I draw the viewer into a dynamic world that hovers between the abstract and the representational. 

I want to create a room where visitors are allowed to touch and lift my paintings. 

My artistic project is about creating a tactile space where people can dream, escape, wonder, breathe, stop, and feel.

I work with paintings in large formats, abandoning the established concept of canvas on stretchers. I try to evoke nature and offer the audience an experience of moving around in a dense forest or a jungle. I let people touch the paintings, and by doing so they will leave traces on the canvases. 

I walk a lot, both in the woods and in the mountains, and I have discovered that if I touch a tree on a trail where thousands of tourists have walked before me, the tree is completely slippery and worn. I can feel the traces of everyone before me. The same effect occurs when many visitors have touched my paintings. The works will be worn and have traces, and the traces become part of the work.

Hanging on the walls in layered compositions and floating in the room, the audience 

is encouraged to engage more physically with my work. My exhibitions resemble more of an installation, or a show, than a traditional painting exhibition. I investigate and push the boundaries between these categories. The paintings are all different, but together they create a harmony and a whole.

The back side can be just as interesting as the front when the light shines through. 

As an artist, my role in society is to create a timeless space for the viewer. A space with time 

for reflection, wonder and a feeling of being alive. I have no political agenda, but I hope my 

work ignites a hint of optimism for the future. I believe my bright colors and expressive energy brings something positive to those who see and experience my work. 

 

Kristin Romberg