For more than ten years, Janicke Schønning has been exploring how weather and nature influence ink and watercolors on paper and canvas, in her outdoor studio in Nordmarka outside
For more than ten years, Janicke Schønning has been exploring how weather and nature influence ink and watercolors on paper and canvas, in her outdoor studio in Nordmarka outside Oslo. Although the method is non-traditional, the practice is part of a long tradition within historical plein air painting. The plein air painter is just out in the open air, with physical proximity to the subject. The circumstances require that the motif be taken in quickly rapid brushed out. It is an interaction with the forces of nature. Canvas and paint cases are heavy to carry, wind can throw the canvas around and rain threatens with general destruction. The transformation of the four-dimensional surroundings into two-dimensional works of art is at the same time a puzzle of choices adjusted to fit the tiny square the motif relays on.
A lot of this also applies to Schønning. But she takes the changeable weather as a co-creator in the process. Working under the open sky all year provides concrete experience, you cannot escape the rain, snow, wind, sun. It is impossible not to be influenced. The work is also shaped by these forces. Schønning explores how nature expresses itself and leaves its own traces. The drawings and paintings are created in dialogue with the elements, a process in which she only has partial control. Snails have wandered over the paper, rainwater has danced with the ink, leaves have withered over the drawings and fungi have left imprints on the canvas. Canvas and paper have absorbed the winter slush and shifting winter-darkness over the fjord, soaking in the sharp spring light between ancient oak trees and water gushing down between gusts of wind. In this way, the images can be seen as both an indirect and a direct imprint.
In the work on the exhibition, Schønning has visited Hardanger several times, and the transition from the dense spruce forest in Nordmarka to steep hills and blue shimmering fjords has had an impact – both on motif and color palette. At the same time, she is aware that the experience of the landscape cannot be anything other than fleeting. «In the face of the ancient oaks, I am just a breath. I painted the old oak in one day, something that can hardly be more than a breath of fresh air for the tree,» says Schønning. At the same time, my own life is the only thing I know, so in that sense it is eternal for us. But the tree that stretches back several hundred years still gives us a breath of a different era. They were here long before us and will perhaps be here after we leave.
BIO: Jannicke Schønning (1974), Oslo
Since 2010, Janicke Schønning has moved her studio practice into the forest near where she lives in Sørkedalen, Nordmarka in Oslo. With ink and gouache on paper, she explores nature in a wide range of expressions, from observations, abstractions and prints through all seasons. The works are often carried out as a collaboration with the elements. Rain, frost, the currents of the river and the creeps of the forest leave their mark on the pictures.
Schønning is educated at Central St Martins in London (BA) and the Oslo Academy of Arts (MA). She has previously exhibited at, among others, the National Museum (I call it art), Galleri Semmingsen, Kristiansand Art Hall, Buskerud Art Center, Akershus Artists Center (now Nitja), Trafo Art Hall, Tegnerforbundet, Gallery BoA, Spriten Art Hall, Peder Balke Centre, Norwegian Forest Museum and Lautom Contemporary. She is in the collection of KORO and Kunst på Arbeidsplassen.