Bare pink bodies lounge on candy coloured towels and beneath parasols on the beach, while long water-slides twist through lush tropical landscapes. These latest paintings by Audun Alvestad blur the edges between reality, dream and memory to evoke a complex, sensual expression of summer. Playfully entitled Tan Lines, the artist’s latest exhibition at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery explores the season as a feeling rather than a specific place or moment in time, presenting a curious tension between distance and intimacy, indifference and longing.
After a period of isolation, the Lisbon-based, Norwegian artist recalls hearing suitcases being wheeled across cobblestones and was struck by the distinctiveness of the sound and its ability to conjure up a vivid reel of images and memories. He began to think about what a holiday means as a concept, how we delineate a period of time, establish expectations, wear different clothes and perform certain activities or even identities. As such, all of the paintings possess a kind of universality - we recognise the settings and the patterns of behaviour, but they do not describe individual places or people. This has the effect of allowing us, as the viewer, to perceive and understand the works through the filter of our own experience, but at the same time, we’re held at a distance as a witness rather than a participant.