Available work in Artsy.
Since the first time I saw Maria Saveland’s oil painting “Borders” I have not been able to get it out of my mind. The afternoon I entered Maria’s studio my gaze was directly drawn to a painting that was not yet complete. A painting of which Maria herself did not quite understand is now blatantly obvious.
– It is about integrity, how to survive without compromising too much on the things that matter to me. I often search for the exact color by building up layers. When I find it, I can feel it, and in this painting it ended up being a shade that one associates with a slate, a direct connection to school. I am not saying that the painting is about school – it is more about the community and the standards we must hold ourselves to as we protect our innermost unique self, with the family being of course the first outpost (I actually cried when we sold it).
Maria studied at Konstfack / University College of Arts, Crafts and Design 1991-1997, The College of Printmaking Arts and the Royal Institute of Art, all in Stockholm. Being preoccupied with what happens in the meeting between people is also the reason she is interested in pedagogy. She has taught at Kulturhuset, Liljevalchs, Kulturskolan, Konstforum i Norrköpings and for the past five years is the headmaster at Basis School of Art offering foundation and advanced studies in fine art and interior design.
– It is inspiring to help young people grow and develop to their full potential.
Maria sees herself as a storyteller. By working quite a lot with the printing process, she has learned to build up a work with layers, exploring the expression of color. The painting “The Warrior” tells the story about our everyday solitary battles. The main color, as often in Maria’s paintings, is a midtone – in this case a toned down yet intensive yellow hue.
“The Warrior” had an unexpected audience when some electricians were working in Maria’s studio.
– When I returned after an errand they had brought their colleagues to see the painting! That type of unexpected communication is amazing and gives a deeper meaning in what I am doing.
Maria works with different media based on what she wants to express. From the original thought or emotion to the final result can be a very long journey. Processes have their own pace.
– It’s like I’m living in two different periods of time in which one is my own life and another is my artistic process. Something that touched me long ago in my own life can suddenly clamor for attention during the artistic process. I often explore the limits in my relationship with certain materials, one such example being to explore the gray scale in a screen print where the image’s natural expression is sharp contrasts in black and white.
– Becoming an artist was nothing that was natural in my upbringing. It was not something I chose to be, rather, something I discovered I was. My high school teachers in art saw my needs. It means a lot to be seen and encouraged at the right time. Art takes time, but it also gives a lot back.
“The Beast” is her own personal favorite. It is a portrait of a cabinet.
– I had a wooden cabinet in my room and every morning I awoke, I saw these wood grains shaped like a beast and I just had to paint it.
The images usually just appear in my head – it can of course be inspired by something I have seen. It is a constant search to find the right direction, a shadowy impulse comes to me, something very determined but which can still change a lot during the creative process.
I point to the formation of a hand in sculptur wax with rose thorns and I ask if they are real.
– Yes, those are rose thorns, and the piece was first called “The Hand of the Princess.” Something about giving and receiving, but it is impossible to receive or to give when the hand is so full of thorns. It symbolises a kind of isolation, loneliness, sublimity and humanity – the allusion of being in a position to determine the fate of things that you really can not control. The piece is now renamed “The Beggar” and is about the relationship that arises when meeting a beggar. I can be so satisfied when I give a small token, but at the same time I am deeply disturbed by feeling good about that very gesture. It also portrays the beggar’s point of view – one of inferiority and contempt – for he must somehow create a distance between himself and the person he is begging from. A meeting between two people, meeting or not meeting – is very much the essence of my art.
Pauli Olavi Kuivanens review from Maria Saveland’s exhibition at Konstforum.