The paintings of London-based artist Sven Sandberg are “untimely” in the best sense of the word. The colors and brushstrokes recall works of early twentieth-century European modernism, and the formal compositions of his portraits resemble paintings of eras even further removed. Yet in their present context, the paintings are not at all out of step or anachronistic. Rather, in their historical references, they amount to a productive disruption and transformation of our current patterns of perception.
In his new collection of paintings produced specifically for this exhibition, Sandberg evokes the cafés, galleries, backstages, and street scenes of 1920s Europe. With subtle references to the literature, film, and visual arts of the era, his portraits capture moments of daydreaming, self-reflection, and thought amid fields of color and objects that speak to the new visual distractions and environments of the modern city. The interplay between distraction and attention, which featured so prominently in early twentieth-century theories of perception, is re-engaged through these works to encourage moments of absorption and contemplation in our own age of heightened distraction.
Special thanks to a grant from St. Lawrence University’s Arts Collaborative for funding the exhibition.
Gallery talk with Sven Sandberg and Brook Henkel
Monday, February 19, at 4:30 p.m.
Griffiths Arts Center Room 123
Monday – Thursday 12-8pm
Friday – Saturday 12-5pm
Monday – Sunday 7am – 12pm
The gallery is free and open to the public during the academic year and is closed for University breaks.