LIGHT COMES THROUGH / Galerie Forsblom / 2017
Soft dabs of the brush are transformed into sharp geometrical shapes in the oil paintings of Stig Baumgartner (b. 1969), whose work is inspired by private experiences and memories. The titles often refer to real people, who are symbolically represented on the canvas as abstract figures. He treats the background as a landscape, or as pure light that pierces through the foregrounded figure to tickle the viewer's retina. His paintings are infused with a dynamic sense of something having just happened or something about to happen. The elements in the composition variably seem to keep opening or closing, or at other times they stand immovably in place or appear to be on the brink of collapse. The colors, too appear to be in a perpetual state of flux, existing on the verge of either igniting or being extinguished. The mood or feeling conveyed by the colors is of key importance to Baumgartner, who thumbs his nose at the traditional modernist pursuit of sublime transcendence by painting familiar and even mundane subject matter.
Despite their rationalistic dimensions, his works cannot be described as purely constructivist. Baumgartner makes no clear distinction between geometrical constructivism and abstract expressionism: both schools of painting have both an emotion-driven and intellect-driven side.
MY COLOUR, YOUR COLOUR / Korjaamo gallery / Helsinki / 2015
Stig Baumgartner's new paintings are seen at Korjaamo Galleria's main exhibition space. The works are pit stop of memories, reflections of yearning and loss. The artist leans strongly to the art historical tradition by reffering to abstract modernism. Baumgartner doesn't himself call his works abstract, although they do contain some elements of abstract modernism. He plays with geometrical basic forms by examining their reciprocal relations.
"The colours of my paintings attract each other, long for each other, disturb each other or at least seek their places in relation to each other." The meaning of the greek word harmos (harmony) is to gather or to join. In other words harmony, or balance is formed from the reciprocality, convergence and unification of different parts. Colour is a significant part of the work and has more character than it's own name. Not only colours but also the geometrical forms are looking for their places. Baumgartner gathers them often mirror-likely and tries to stimulate conversation between them. Geometrical forms, such as squars, triangles and rectangles, aren't relevant as such. What is interesting is the order and the reciprocal relations they choose.
The paintings form an entity, a series, which parts are recognizable to belong to the same group. Every painting has it's own character and together they act like family members to each other. The works Minä olen / Heijastus sinusta (I am / a Reflection of You) were among the first paintings made for the exhibition. The series sums up the underlying message of the exhibition. Although a person is relative to an other, he or she is finally not more than a delay or a reflection from other residents.