Anja Salonen’s Surrealist Paintings of Existential Unease


LOS ANGELES — Existential unease fills the air between the partitions of Unknot, a solo exhibition of artwork by way of Anja Salonen at in lieu, her first on the gallery. Salonen’s symbol alternatives cull up reminiscences of Surrealist artwork of their absurdity, but their colours are all spectacle, dripping with the type of flooded, unnatural lighting fixtures conventional of minimalist theater. In all probability it's the dramatic lighting fixtures that brings the movies of David Lynch to thoughts, or possibly it’s the emotionally vacant cow located in the back of a apparently floating girl in Salonen’s “Hysteria” (2022), who's upon 2d look in reality arched face-up throughout a farmer’s knee.

Anja Salonen, “Time Lick in Purple” (2022), oil and acrylic on canvas, 28 x 22 inches

In “Time Lick in Purple,” a mysterious hand swings a timepiece from side to side in entrance of a determine’s clean stare, a cliché depiction of hypnosis, whilst in “Rat Temple Milk” every other set of mysterious human fingers cup in combination to raise milk from a big bowl the place rats dine in multitude (each 2022).  Mirrored within the milk is the presumed face of the determine, but whilst the fingers are human, the face is that of a rat. In each works of art, we get a type of fusion of cinematic eeriness and painterly thriller — as though Salonen has created some form of suspense-driven soft-horror movie wherein the portray’s characters are actors and all we get are those movie stills to look.

Anja Salonen, “Rat Temple Milk” (2022), oil on canvas, 24 x 30 inches

Within reach “Inexperienced Fluorescent Protein 1” and “Inexperienced Fluorescent Protein 2” (each 2022) depict one bright-orange-and-green mouse each and every. At four-by-four inches, the artwork are relatively small and the mice they include fill their frames, giving the influence that they, just like the lab mice they reference, are trapped. Any other portray, “Partial Metamorphosis (Pre Tail-Absorption)” (2022), additionally appears like an outline of a science experiment. The use of the similar bright-orange-and-green lighting fixtures, two fingers cup in combination to carry a small quantity of water wherein a number of tadpoles swim. The scene may as simply be blameless, a kid’s science experiment in all probability, because it may well be nefarious. Both method, I'm fearful for the ones tadpoles.

“Inexperienced Fluorescent Protein 1” (2022), oil on canvas, 4 x 4 inches; “Inexperienced Fluorescent Protein 2” (2022), oil on canvas, 4 x 4 inches

In “Emily and Emma; Gadget Studying” (2022), an issue actually doubles in surprise as she contemplates a robot head she holds in her fingers. Whilst it takes a second (and in all probability a press liberate) to infer the scene, the sense of id disaster comes throughout straight away. Just like the artwork of Surrealists Magritte or Dali or the movies of Peter Greenaway, Salonen’s artwork level to a location wherein fact is slippery, ill-defined — a dream or position of play. The adaptation, then again, is that during 2022, Salonen’s global does no longer appear so bizarre or surreal. Within the close to long run, protecting a robot head in a single’s fingers might be regarded as mundane.

Anja Salonen, “Emily and Emma; Gadget Studying” (2022), oil and dye on canvas, 48 x 48 inches
Set up view of Unknot, in lieu, 2022

Unknot continues at in lieu (1206 Maple Street, Suite 903, Bendix Development, Downtown, Los Angeles) thru July 2. The exhibition used to be arranged by way of the gallery.