Tal R: Walk Towards Hare Hill at the Victoria Miro Gallery
The Victoria Miro Gallery in Mayfair has just opened a new exhibition featuring the latest series of paintings by Danish artist Tal R. His very beautiful art has always been characterised by its vivid colours and naive or even primitivist language.
The set of untitled, small canvases on display were produced after the artist was shown by a friend a woodland area of great beauty he had not seen before, called Hare Hill – a place in northern Denmark close to where he spent his summer holidays. The resulting oil paintings are beguilingly atmospheric: the colours and shapes, that echo the work of Cézanne and Matisse, evoke the sounds and smells of a Scandinavian forest, steeped in traditional folklore and Nordic mythology. A few pieces, created with ink on paper, are made up of calligraphic brushstrokes that bring to mind the fluid vegetal marks characteristic of jugendstil prints – dark green or blue ink on paper washed lightly in a similar hue; moody with strains of Munch, or the Swedish children’s book illustrator John Bauer, the landscape of “tomtar och troll” (gnomes and trolls).
Other pieces, such as one that depicts a grassy meadow – rich in flagrant colour as is brought out when the sun light illuminates the trees above – are created using Van Gogh’s blunt, neo-impressionist technique of lines of colour designed to evoke tree branches or blades of grass. Others still recall typical Scandinavian ethnic art, in their almost infantile use of strokes of colour, laid on to create a thick impasto that in itself evokes the rough bark on the trees.
Tal R’s latest series of paintings is more romantic than his previous works, which are more urban in their energy, recalling at times street art and the colourful aesthetics of graffiti. Many of the pieces, painted en plein air, were produced sitting before a fallen tree or a fork in the road. Does this symbolism point towards the beginning of a new path for the artist? Van Gogh moved out to Arles to find inspiration in the rural simplicity of the countryside. Tal R’s choice to find new inspiration in nature may signify a new and most productive, as well as beautiful output from the Danish artist.
Walk Towards Hare Hill is at the Victoria Miro Gallery from 13th March until 17th April 2014. For further information visit the gallery’s website here.