Eva Isaksen | In Conversation

Foster/White Gallery: Your newer works seem quieter and more abstract, focused on shape and color rather than embedded with elements from nature. Can you share about this shift in your work, and how the materials you have been using began to shift as your work changed?

Eva Isaksen: It feels like a natural and organic shift to me. I wanted to focus on shape and color in a new way. I wanted to find a new beginning and a new path within my work. This brought me back to drawing as material, and I spent a couple of years having paper and pencils as my main art supplies. I love to draw and perhaps it is something with the simplicity of the drawing material itself that also brings on simpler shapes, and more abstracted forms in my more recent work. I really do not think much about why these changes are happening, but change is exciting and opens new doors. I am interested in abstraction in itself, in tension and harmony between color and forms, and layers that partially hide but also hints to a narrative.

F/WG: How does your native Norway connect to the organic nature of your work or your work in general?

I have two homes, one here and one in Norway. I own a tiny cabin right by the ocean outside Bodø, my home town, a bit north of the arctic circle. I go there as frequently as I can, a couple of times a year. Actually I was supposed to fly there next week, but the flights are cancelled, and I do not know when I will be able to go. I have been awarded another Artist Residency in Northern Norway for the month of November, in a remote and beautiful place. I certainly hope I can get there then. The nature in Northern Norway is so striking, and the light is unique - midnight sun in summer, and lots of darkness in winter. I can walk for hours in every direction from the tiny cabin, without meeting many people. I love my walks there. It is the landscape of my soul.

I always gather much energy from spending time there, and always return with many ideas to develop in my studio. 

The prints "Conversations with Myself" that I have been making lately are in part based on nature studies and color studies from the landscape there.


A view of Isaksen's studio


F/WG: Can you tell us about how recent travels influence your work? Clearly, nature is a significant source of inspiration for you

EI: During the last years I have been awarded several Artist Residencies. The opportunity to work in new environments and in new spaces, other than one’s own studio, gives a freedom that is unparalleled, and fosters new ideas and directions. I have used my time at these residencies to explore and reexamine. I find much inspiration being in a foreign landscape, studying unfamiliar surroundings, rocks, land, sea, weather. I bring my sketches and drawings back to the studio and develop my ideas into larger works.  

But inspiration also comes from nature literally in the backyard. I am a gardener; I get much pleasure from working with my plants, and am always developing and re-designing the garden. 

F/WG: What do you grow in your garden?

EI: I grow lots of flowers, and also have a vegetable garden.  Working in the garden is relaxing, and gives me peace of mind.



F/WG: How has the quarantine affected your work? Do you find it has impacted what you are making?

EI: The quarantine has forced us all to stay home. Spending isolated time in one’s studio is something artists are used to. I work by myself and I am used to spending much time alone. But these are strange and scary times on so many levels. The world as we know it is changing. So much uncertainty.

During the lock down I have been working with monotypes, each print measuring about 8 x 5 inches. The small scale feels reassuring and comfortable, and somehow fitting for the time. I have given this series the title “Conversations with Myself”, which is exactly what they are. 


Eva Isaksen's monotype series, Conversations with Myself


To learn more about Eva Isaksen and to see available works, please visit www.fosterwhite.com

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