Erik Sigerud

Artist statement

My paintings depict people and places in scenes that relate to the emotions I believe create change in society. At the same time, the paintings relate to my own feelings, life conditions and social interactions. It’s a way for me to relate to complex world events. For some time, my thought process is derived from the ideas of fear of the unknown and a desire to protect a way of life. It is mainly my own fears of growing ultranationalism and climate change that have aroused this interest. However, it is difficult to describe the paintings in detail because I only make paintings I can not fully describe in words. The whole idea is that my paintings should exist between the linguistic and the real world.

The work with my paintings begins in the sketchbooks. Afterward, I collect images for the paintings from my drawings, 3D models, photographs, and family albums. As well as from the Internet and newspapers. Then I plan each painting carefully, often in Photoshop. Yet, my process means that I never anticipate the result. Mainly because I paint from the back to the front, in layers upon layers, from the canvas to the outermost coating. Finally, I experiment and make decisions as the painting progress.

One point of departure is the idea that the real world does not exist as something static, objective. Instead, it is the collective cognitive perceptions of the world, as well as definitions and communication about these perceptions. What interests me is the relationship between my mental images, the language we share, and the actual reality. These live in a symbiotic relationship despite absolute separation, where thought, language, and reality create each other but are separated. Since I do not believe that the identity of the world, of society, of culture, or of individuals can be described, I focus on creating a personal image of the concepts the mind creates. These mental images are constantly changing, as we take in information, communicate and discover our surroundings.

Notably, my paintings began to change as my focus shifted from navel-gazing to political engagement. Paradoxically, I then experienced freedom, which also led to me getting to know myself better. Nonetheless, I would not define my work as political. Rather, the goal is to create a mental quagmire, stimulating for the eye and the brain, as well as liberation from mental frameworks.