Crown Point Press announces Setting the Scene, a group exhibition of prints by artists whose interior and exterior scenes offer portals to a mysterious reality. These images take the everyday and imbue it with a quality of theatrical serenity. The exhibition features three color etchings by Swedish painter Mamma Andersson, and introduces her first print project at Crown Point Press. Other artists in the exhibition are Robert Bechtle, William Bailey, Christopher Brown, Edgar Bryan, Per Kirkeby, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Jockum Nordstrom, Laura Owens, Ed Ruscha, and Wayne Thiebaud.
Mamma Andersson composes large realistic paintings of rooms and landscapes in a style that has been compared to the plays of Harold Pinter. “I am very much inspired by theater,” Andersson has said. “My style follows a very Nordic painting tradition: landscapes, interiors, relationships, and dramas.” In the aquatint titled Stump Up Andersson bathes a cool Nordic light over a snowy vista devoid of human presence. The wintry sky creates a backdrop for dark green spruce trees standing with pride and vulnerability, their scrubby texture rendered by means of a thick layer of sugar lift aquatint. A pale lavender mountain rises in the distance. However, the scene is not as bucolic as it at first appears. The presence of several roughly chopped tree stumps suggests something more intriguing. What happened here? Are the felled trees a random act of destruction or a sign of rejuvenation? Andersson sets the stage for the viewer to create his or her own narrative. Similar visual devices are applied to Andersson’s other two prints, Abandoned, an interior scene of a room strewn with tumbled furniture, and Room Under the Influence, a deserted stage set.
Mamma Andersson’s international acclaim began with her selection as Sweden’s representative at the Venice Biennale in 2003 and continued after winning the prestigious Carnegie International Art Award for Nordic painting in 2006. In 2007, Mamma Andersson was the subject of a mid-career exhibition organized by the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden and traveled to the Hesingfors Konstall, Helsinki, Finland and the Camden Arts Centre, London, England. She is represented by Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Stockholm; the Stephen Friedman Gallery, London; and David Zwirner, New York. Since 2004, Andersson has been commissioned by the Nobel Committee to create award certificates for the winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature. She was born in 1962 in Lulea, Sweden and attended the Royal University College of Fine Arts, 1986-93. Andersson lives and works in a suburb outside of Stockholm.
The other artists in this exhibition create dreamlike or poetic landscapes or still life works. Per Kirkeby, a celebrated Danish artist, for example, used a combination of intaglio and relief printing in Dark Thoughts, 1993. He drew through a hard ground to outline the sharp, windy path of an austere coastline that seems to melt into a dreamlike pool of fish. New York painter William Bailey renders bowls, pitchers and bottles with a fine line. They sit serenely tucked into an archway reminiscent of Italian architecture.
“Realism is about interpreting daily life in the world around us,” Bailey says. “I’m painting a world that is not around us.” The works in this exhibition are compelling invented worlds that allow us to enter them through artist-created scenes.