Kristin Romberg’s paintings buck the trend of art to be looked at by making art that’s meant to be touched. By crossing this threshold, the Norwegian artist invites her audience into her own world, to interact with the objects of her creation as participators, not onlookers.
Heavily inspired by the forms of nature, Romberg embodies a very natural philosophy in her art - that of immersion. The value of nature lies almost entirely in the experiential. That’s to say a forest is far, far more impactful when walked through, as opposed to being seen in an image. There’s multiple reasons for this, one of which is at the heart of this artist’s methodology and output: tactility.
Touch is one of the most important senses, harking back to the insatiable curiosity of our childhood, there is a sense that something must be felt first-hand, not just seen, to be believed. We can be told something is hot, but this concept remains completely abstract until we have been burned on at least one occasion.
Romberg builds on this childlike curiosity by provoking a dormant side within adults, that to explore art in a way that we are a part of it - moving through it like a forest, being brushed by the hanging canvas as if feelings the cool flow of the curtain of a waterfall.
Nature is far more than a feeling, though. It’s also how something looks. The concept of natural and unnatural is fairly solid within popular discourse. Nature tends to be more imperfect, free-form like jazz, whereas the man-made has a rigidity and angular appeal rarely perceived as naturally occuring.
Most of the canvases created by the artist feature shapes and colours that are evocative of the ‘natural world’, one that continually seems further away from us than ever before, one we are now more inclined to experience in a David Attenborough documentary than by ourselves. Adult life, as we live it, has an increasingly finite amount of time. Nature is far down the pecking order for most people when they do manage to spare a bit extra.
Change has been occurring recently, likely as a reaction to an increasingly docile lifestyle brought on by increasing automation and technological advance coupled with the closure of many leisure outlets due to the coronavirus pandemic. There are far more outdoor pictures circulating news feeds now and Romberg’s nature-inspired works will resonate with this shifting psychology.
We’ve collectively reassessed our lives. What’s needed and what isn’t? What’s most valuable and what’s superfluous? It seems that many have begun to value the simple things - family, health and the freedom to explore. Weaving through and engaging with Kristin Romberg’s exhibitions will feed into these desires, where she dissolves the boundary of artist and admirer by curating our experience to recreate that wonderful plane where nature and imagination meet.
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