This is a blog about the Finnish artist Jenni Rope (b. 1977) whose work I admire greatly. Here is some information about her from her website: ‘(Rope…) is an artist based in Helsinki, Finland. She works in a variety of media including painting, illustration, book publishing, print design and animation. Rope is the founder of publishing house Napa Books.’
“I paint and build to create a world where only my aesthetics apply. I use colours and cut shapes to form living things, angular plants, soft buildings and new natural phenomena. My paintings are staged abstract landscapes where man-built shapes and nature compete gently with each other. I work using various techniques as acrylic paint, drawing, papercutting and animation. When a shape from a painting escapes the canvas and continues life in a sculpture or in an animation, it appears to be closer to the viewer and becomes more real.”
While I appreciate every aspect of this artist’s work what really interests me are her paintings so that’s whatI’ll talk about here. She’s highly experimental and is’nt afraid to try something new in every piece of work. Her use of colour and texture is very exciting to me, she combines neutrals and bright acidic colours in ways that shouldn’t work but do. The way she uses paint is really luscious and creamy, there’s something very delicious about the brush marks as they spread the paint around. I imagine she makes a lot of her colour decisions on the spot or by accident because they are very unusual and versatile. It’s interesting to note that she uses a lot of collage so she has this joy at mixing and matching elements to create something new and unexpected. I appreciate her love of collaging, the joy of putting two or more previously unrelated elements together. This experimental use of colour, texture, and pattern really appeals to me visually; I find it very exciting and very beautiful. I like the fact that she uses all kinds of surfaces; canvas, board, paper and she isn’t afraid to stray away from the typical square or rectangular format, her pictures come in all shapes and sizes. Her explanation for her work is that she’s creating abstract landscapes this makes me think of surrealism and fantasy, I think this is a terrain that I feel most comfortable in. It’s something I relate to and a recurrent theme in my own work.
This is very significant to me now because I have just been feeling pretty despondent and wondering what it’s all about. I was talking to a gallery owner recently and although we weren’t talking about my work at all but about an exhibition of conceptual paintings, I felt very inadequate and somewhat of a phoney as the conversation went on. I left thinking I’m not like those artists, I don’t have any witticisms and rye comments to make about society, what am I doing? Who am I? Yes, I am quite the drama queen. So, a week has gone by and I have actually painted quite a lot and written a few blogs, and looked at a million pictures on Tumblr and Pinterest, and now I feel like maybe I just still don’t know myself well enough to define myself and so my work is coming out all undefined without a message or statement. I am disparate and uncentred, as many people and artists must be sometimes. But isn’t that a message in itself? My work must surely always reflect what’s going on with me, that I am absolutely terrified of failure and success at the same time, that I am unrelentingly hard on myself and that I feel utterly alone but that I am a very strong and courageous person and despite all the things that hold me back I still keep on going.
Through reflecting on the work of these amazing artists who I adore I feel like I am finding some interesting answers for myself.