Photo: Ulla-Maija Kallinen, Flowering garden, 2022, gouache, marker, pencil
CREATION AND ITS GUARDIANS
Ulla-Maija Kallinen's paintings
"In my paintings, I have been working on nature experiences for a long time, among other things, taking impressive places found in nature as a starting point. In my work, I reflect on the relationship between nature and spirituality, as it was manifested already in ancient times in the subjects drawn from nature by some old cultures. In my latest works, I want to approach Creation, the great creative work of its Creator through the means of painting. Experiences of peace and sanctity mediated by our northern nature have been included, which in the works are transformed into aesthetic experiences that work under the conditions of painting.
The feeling of the forest is the starting point for many of my paintings. The inner essence of the forest can also be reached through painting, for example as it appears in the colors of the trees and other vegetation, as well as in the variations of light and dusk and humidity.
The inner development, spiritual growth, change for the better, and the intense growth that takes place in nature come close to each other. Everywhere in nature – and especially in the forest – you can feel the power of growth. Moving in nature is an uplifting experience. In my paintings, the forest sometimes embodies peace, sometimes the play of joy conveyed through autumn colors, and sometimes mysterious power. Some of the works feature forest animals. At dusk, animals often emerge. The forest is their protection and refuge.
My works are born from the impulses of nature, which provide a starting point for free rhyming and playing with glowing colors, sprinkling shapes. Variations and rhythms in nature, as well as human emotions, can be transferred to painting.
Some of the works show archaeological patterns, the purpose of which is to give the paintings a reference to the presence of old cultures close to nature. You can feel the mystery and beauty of the cult and utility objects skillfully prepared by the Celts and Vikings. They too sought spiritual experiences through their decorative cult and utility objects. The motifs of the Celts and Vikings were originally from nature. They used finely modified figures from the plant and animal world in their objects.
The painter is fascinated by nature's wondrous beauty, mystery and limitless number of possibilities. In my latest works, I bring out a different perspective: a person can also feel his own smallness and the fragility of his life in nature. Nature makes visible the presence of the source of life that is bigger than us and produces peace and joy.
My latest works draw from the source of spirituality and the beauty of creation. In the background there is concern about the neglect of the task given to man, the guardian of creation. Nature has become an object of selfish abuse. In the paintings, the forest is seen on the one hand as a place of peace, on the other hand as a place that gives strength. For many, the forest is like a church where you can get quiet. The trunks of the trees resemble the pillars supporting the roof of the church. Nature embodies the creativity of its Creator. In the arms of the forest, you can meditate on the diversity of creation, and your worries and sorrows will fade away.
The paintings are fantasy. When painting, the colors and shapes break away into a new, unique sensory experience. The works contain layers of the mind and experiences of holiness, as well as references from mythology. Making a painting is sometimes joy and pleasure, other times silence and peace."
EXHIBITION PROGRAM 2023
William Dennisuk, an artist, sculptor and art teacher living in Imatra, started making a series of drawings in 2015, which he continues to do today. The artist, who is open to different art forms and ways of working, presents the latest works of the series in his exhibition.
EXHIBITION PROGRAM 2024
Through the paintings, photographs and video works of visual artist Marjo Hallila, Rikkumus deals with how any of us can commit illegal activities purely out of thoughtlessness. Hallila puts everyday violations in dialogue with the Ukrainian war raging in the background. How to weigh bad deeds? How do the scraps collected from the national park look next to war crimes?
LAB Fine art theses
LAB Fine art theses 2
A white dream
Photographer Jaakko Kilpiäinen has been photographing Finnish funk architecture since the beginning of the 2000s. The first part of the project was a collection of funk architecture from the Finnish period located in the area of ceded Karelia. Later, he has photographed lesser-known and downright forgotten funk in various parts of Finland.
A white dream -exhibition encourages you to look at and think about building heritage in ways other than through well-known sites. The valuable building of your own village can be an important landmark and identity maintainer. The exhibition is also a statement on the still prevailing short-sighted attitude towards our architectural heritage.
Architecture cycling and walking tours are organized for the public in connection with the exhibition.
ARTIST SOCIETY OF SOUTH KARELLA
In times of crisis, the roles of art and the artist are emphasized. Through art, the community can deal with its pain points, but at the same time, with the help of art, it can look at a different world and awaken thoughts of a better tomorrow. Art does not only deal with grievances, but it can also serve as a building material for a new era and regional cultural identity.
Master of Arts Kalle Hamm is the curator of the exhibition.
The Great Escape
Oulu artist Anni Kinnusen's exhibition The Great Escape is a story about how man has gradually distanced himself from nature, the landscape has turned into a stage and humanity into a role-play. Kinnusen's works are photographs taken in real situations, but they look like a surreal play. Kinnunen is often the subject of his camera himself. In the pictures, he presents various characters that are aesthetically fantasy and approach nightmare. At the same time, the human figure in both Kinnusen's photographs and videos questions the whole assumption of a natural person.
Visual artist Timo Kokko from Kuopio explores the essence of installation and sculpture in his art through materials, immateriality, space, light and observation. The works deal with ecological values and issues related to humanity. Man, nature, time, the moment and momentaryness are recurring themes in his works.
Kokko is building three large-scale installations at the Imatra Art Museum, two of which have Vuoksi water flowing through them. The works are based on the idea of the human relationship and the effects of activity on nature. Kokko makes his works from recycled materials.
In connection with the exhibition, workshops aimed at schoolchildren will be organized, the ideas of which the artist participates in.
One with the void – Gaps in the structures of existence
Visual artist Paula Tella's works are based on the East Asian tradition of painting, which includes meditating on the landscape and trying to reach its ultimate nature. Tella works physically, trying to record the physical experience of the landscape, giving room for chance.
In spring and winter, the exhibition space is taken over by the visual arts students of the LAB University of Applied Sciences with their thesis exhibitions. As usual, the theses are presented in two parts. The first group will perform from 24.2 February to 10.3 March. and the second from 17.3.–31.3.2023.
Antti Ahtee, Kristiina (Aunt) Kajaste, Kaisa Kallioniemi, Ninni Kola, Mariella Korhonen, Mari Koskela, Teemu Kykyri, Emma Okkola, Saara Ripatti, Vilhelmiina Tikka-Rissanen, Heli Toikka, Santtu Tuomola
Niina Alakopsa, Robin Clark, Veera Costa, Nikita Furin, Vera Haanpää, Minna Heikkilä, Olga Hyvönen, Henna Kainulainen, Heidi Karanta, Jasmin Lier, Taijatuuli Louhivuori, Anni Maajärvi, Veera Mankki, Melina Modinos, Terhi Skippari
Jussi Valtakari and Antti Ylönen
After Easter, you can enjoy the traditional art of wood carving with a modern twist. Kuvanveistajät, who have been working on joint art projects for several years Jussi Valtakari and Antti Ylönen create works in which Valtakar's mini-sized human figures are combined with Ylönen's sturdy forms that emphasize the materiality of wood. Valtakari's works that criticize society and current affairs through gentle humor tell the story on the stage created by Ylönen.
FLORA AND FAUNA
Art associations of South Karelia
Marja Estola, Sinikka Hänninen, Tarja Häsä, Heikki Ikävalko, Helena Jaatinen, Kirsi Kiviaho, Kaarina Leminen, Mirka Lempiäinen, Merja Leppänen, Hannu Leskinen-Estola, Pirjo Lindberg, Svetlana Lunina, Markku Nurmi, Natalia Perepelkina, Pirjo Pirinen, Outi Pollock, Helena Roiha, Ritva Räsänen, Raili Salojärvi, Juri Tamminen, Sirpa Tuomaala, Riku Tuuha, Marjaana Tyk a villager
The exhibition of the art associations of South Karelia presents the production of its members with a wide spectrum from classical drawing to rough ITE art. The creators have been inspired by the surrounding natural and built environment, the places that tickle the sense of beauty and the animals that live in them. Topics are approached through realism, fantasy and humor. Poltava's topical ecological themes also appeal to many of the artists in the exhibition. The exhibition includes members from all art associations in the region.
Mayumi Niiranen-Hisatomi and Annu Vertanen
Crossroads-in the exhibition, the works of two artists representing different cultures and generations and working with different techniques together create a whole, where past and present, memories and experiences intersect and intertwine into a new common story.
Japanese-born visual artist living in Kajaani since 2010 Mayumi Niiranen-Hisatomi wants to raise the value of existing objects through his works and bring the diversity of culture to the public to experience and see. He uses existing objects and recycled and natural materials as materials for his works, striving to create his work in the most ecological way possible. The technique of the work is selected according to the conditions of the work to be produced, and Niiranen-Hisatomi often has to learn a new technique in order to be able to create the desired end result. In the works, both Japanese and Finnish age-old methods of making objects of use and art intersect, as well as materials found in the nature of both countries, such as lacquer made from the sap of the urushi tree and Kainuu kaolin, a wild clay used in art ceramics.
A printmaker from Imatra, professor Annu Vertanen the works have seen features of the Finnish landscape and Japanese design and aesthetics, which are characterized by a simplified graphic look, strong use of color and clear boundaries. The Risteymiä exhibition features works from Vertanen's Flag series, where the artist reflects on Finnishness and the relationship of Finnishness to other nationalities. Who is Finnish and who is not Finnish? The question is complex and there is no simple answer.
Vertanen has been working on the flag theme since 2016. The newest works in the series are from this year. Over the years, the content of the works has changed from public to private. The artist has also reduced his expression to a minimum; the spaciousness and depth effect noticeable in the first parts of the series have faded into non-existence. What remains is a reduced, abstract surface that hides the flag motif.
MEMORIES AND MEMORIES
Harri Turunen and Reijo Turunen
Memories and Memory Traces presents a versatile selection of works that deal with the theme of memories and memory traces from different perspectives. Abstract works, realistic paintings, sculptures and photographs offer their viewers different ways to approach the complex world of memories. The exhibition encourages visitors to stop for a moment and think about how memories shape us and how they can be interpreted through art.
At the center of the exhibition is the question of what we remember and what we want to remember. Memories are an important part of our identity and experiences, but at the same time they can become distorted over time or receive different interpretations from different people. Questions about whether we can trust memories and how they affect our perception of ourselves and the world around us are current themes in the exhibition.
Is it the artist's job to make memory traces visible? Can art authenticate mental images and capture them permanently on canvas, stone or a photograph? The exhibition challenges visitors to consider the role of art as a mediator of memories and their interpreter.
The works on display in the exhibition offer a versatile coverage of different styles and ways of expression, from abstract expressionism to precise realism. The works of art bring to life a spectrum of emotions from joy to sadness and from hope to melancholy.
Juho Mäkelä, Niskakoski salmon dam, 1938, watercolor, Sihtola Imatra collection
The Imatra region was already described in the 1800th century with paintings and drawings made by e.g. Severin Falkman, Albert Edelfelt and Akseli Gallen-Kallela.
In the 1900th century, Imatra was painted by several leading artists who came as guests of Master of Science in Engineering Jalo Sihtola (1882-1969) at Harakanhovi in Tainionkoski. This group included e.g. Mikko Oinonen, Väinö Kamppuri, Uuno Alanko, Otto Mäkilä, Juho Mäkelä, Aimo Kanerva and Tuomas von Boehm.
Jalo Sihtola's contribution to Imatra's art life was decisive. He can be considered the founder of both the Imatra Art Association and the Imatra Art Museum. The art museum was opened in 1951 in the exhibition space built on the top floor of the folk school in Vuoksenniska.
Today, the art museum is located in Mansikkala Kulttuuritalo Virra in the Imatra cultural center designed by architect Arto Sipinen, which was completed in 1986.
The art museum's collection consists of works owned by the city of Imatra and the Imatra art association, which total more than 1400 works. The focus of the collection is on domestic art of the 1900th century.
Sihtola's Imatra collection is nationally significant. It contains 1900th century modernist art from Finland, Sweden, France and Italy, a total of almost 400 works of art. Sihtola's Imatra collection includes works that once belonged to Jalo Sihtola.
The works have been donated and sold by Jalo Sihtola, as well as donations from the Ester and Jalo Sihtola Art Foundation and private individuals.
The art museum's collection includes works by e.g. From Akseli Gallen-Kallela and Hugo Simberg and from the following early 1900th century authors: Magnus Enckell, Verner Thomé, AW Finch, Yrjö Ollila, Mikko Oinonen, Tyko Sallinen, Juho Mäkelä, Eero Nelimarkka, Väinö Kamppuri, Uuno Alanko and Wäinö Aaltonen.
The 1950s, known as the decade of modernism, is represented by a very comprehensive group of works by Tuomas von Boehm. Also included are e.g. Otto Mäkilä, Ole Kandelin, Tapani Raittila, Helge Dahlman, Anitra Lucander, Ina Colliander, Aimo Kanerva, Per Stenius, Olli Miettinen, Unto Pusa, Unto Koistinen and Sam Vanni.
Veikko Nuutinen, Waltz, 1980, 2020, aluminium
Kaakkuri is a blog focused on the visual arts of Southeast Finland. It is published by Lappeenranta Art Museum, Imatra Art Museum, Kymenlaakso Museum and Kouvola Art Museum Poikilo.
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