Grethe Hald - Sandefjord Kunstforening


Gro Thorsen's exhibition in Sandefjord Kunstforening consists of pictures in motion. And with her feathery sweep of oil on linen we are present in the movement. Our glance fastens to the figures and moves with them in directions decided by the composition. The figures move to and from in an ever crossing field, from picture to picture. They meet one another and we see that the direction of their movements will inevitably cross. So, what happens? They can go from a joint meeting point or to a joint place, some on their way right out of the picture surface. We instinctively think of people's choice of direction in their lives, but also hunting for something which leads only one way: out of life, out of the frame.

The figures are made according to a set pattern, however, credibly, as actors in a play. The shadows indicate the light source; there is a glassy but still sharp light over the pictures, milk white with a golden gleam, as from mist or polluting discharge. Some times more greyish, like right before rain. When the background is homogeneously dark the far-flung is subdued and something claustrophobic enters into the city room. For these are no doubt urban pictures, even if no surroundings are there, only a corner or a wall, and all pictures are untitled. We can see it from people's clothing and accessories: ties, white shirts and business briefcases.

Miniature pictures painted with oil on aluminium are put together to a large fragmentary composition. Here are details from a burst whole, snapshots or newspaper cuttings where a smiling face, a shoe, a bag, an arm separately indicate a split existence. We are led to think of our childhood's building bricks where different pictures on four sides should be put together to a whole. Which ones fit together? Are some missing? Sometimes questions of the nature of social criticism arise, started by smiling and successful faces talking on the telephone or otherwise in an eternal, restless pattern of all sorts of doing. What do they really want with their lives?

There is much loneliness in Gro Thorsen's paintings, even where several people meet or are together, but then just do not meet, only superficially. There is a disturbing lack of contact in this, strengthened by the fact that the expression of the picture is beautiful and actually contemplative in its delicate treatment of the surface. But as regards contents we feel for these people hunting for something indefinable that might be called fulfilment or career, also their allotted destiny.
One is struck by the fact that Gro Thorsen's paintings combine two important objectives that count when a picture hung on a wall is to be viewed day in, day out: They have aesthetic value and they let us never stop asking questions. Some of them quite fundamental.
The exhibition is shown in Sandefjord Kunstforening until 1st September.

Grethe Hald