Ida Ekblad Paints, Sculpts, Glories in Artmaking
To delight in Ida Ekblad‘s exhibit Blood Optics (directly above and below) is to to let some sunshine in. Some admirable artworks use veils, layers, mysteries. Blood Optics uses clarity. Noon clarity — full color, no muddying shadows. The piece above uses stripes like an underlying melody. From left, diagonal blue, squiggly blue, slightly different diagonal red. Each set finds a different riff on the tune, yet you agree the music can complete one song.
Below is a multiple-canvas piece and two identically-sized single paintings. If she’s true to the forms here, the two solos could only fit in a trio with the third canvas (probably in the center) being a contrasting shape. These two are more complex compositions and perhaps need a simpler cooling-down canvas in between.
The multiple on the right relies on semblances, not diagonals. It’s a long pie-wedge of a shape that begins with the height-filling form on the left and dwindles to the quiet circle on the smallest canvas to the right. The leftmost form and the red vase (and smaller rectangle) carry the red rightward. There’s a gloss of light on the vase (a lighting effect often ignored by Ekblad) and shiny far-right spoon. She has created a visual logic that again joins the elements into one tune.
I can’t speak for the practices of an artist I’ve never talked to, but if it was me these conjunctions were not planned at the painting stage, they asserted themselves at the strongly different compare-and arrange stage. I would find myself then in a different part of myself. Hand-eye coordination becomes trivial, a gear shifts, finding a mega pattern turns a key in a new part of your knowing.
I include this Ekberg sculpture because it shares so much feeling with the way she’s framed her canvases above. Imagine instead the highly carved and richly gilded framing you’ll find in old museums. You’d raise an eyebrow. The artwork would radically change. Maybe straight to comedy.
As always in this blog I don’t strive to cover the entirety of an artist’s output but the parts of it that stand out to me. Ekblad’s painting roams across a landscape of styles. Her sculpture deserves attention too — but what I show here doesn’t begin to exhaust her reach.
In the top photo below, a market basket filled with Ekblad’s ideas about sculpture, I’m most taken with the two in front — badly seen here, but notable. Similar to Swollen by Breath on artsy.net. They have an underlying grace that enlivens them. Below that is Vampire Squid which I feel good/bad about. It’s an arresting ground for its hangings and placements. Fancy shower doors? Points for arresting novelty. But unless these objects all have personal meanings to the artist, they’re random. Always a big shrug for random. You don’t get credit for sifting and leaving some things out.
In sum I feast on Ida Ekblad’s creativity, willingness to abandon one fascination for a new one. Her flexibility and sly humor. I’m reading about Frank Stella now and the author points out that Stella took an almost scientific approach to exploring one aesthetic issue after another, in a regimented way. Ekblad is loudly another form of personality. She rose from street art and break-dancing to tackle more demanding forms. She’s very good at what she does. She moves along like she’s on roller skates.
More on Ida Ekblad:
Herald St Gallery, London