Woman in Mirror II

Strand, Svein, 1989 til 1990

Oil on canvas, 147x129cm, Henie-Onstad Art Center

Together with artists as diverse as Eilif Amundsen, John David Nielsen, Johannes Vinjum and Frans  Widerberg, and somewhat later Odd Nerdrum and Bjørn Ransve, Svein Strand (b. 1934) was a major participant within the neo-figurative trend in Norwegian art during the 60s. These artists did not form any organized or cohesive group but wished to create an alternative to the most popular contemporary art style of that period. They disassociated themselves from non-figurative art, which had experienced a delayed breakthrough here in Norway at that time, and sought inspiration from the art of the past, perhaps most notably from the French Nabis (Vuillard, Bonnard etc).

Svein Strand received his education at the National College of Art and Design and the National Academy of Fine Art in Oslo. He made his debut on the Norwegian art scene as early as 1958 but did not have a real breakthrough until twenty years later with a solo exhibition at Galleri K in 1978 – which since the 70s has been a major venue for promoting this generation of artists and this view of art on the Norwegian art scene. Strand is to an exceptional degree a painters’ painter and he concentrated on “familiar” scenes; an intimate cycle of motifs in which still-lifes and interiors dominate. In his interiors he plays with reality by opening up the room through doors and windows to the world without, for example, or by allowing the surroundings to be reflected within the room via an extensive use of mirroring effects. Aside from his emphasis on a traditionally constructed pictorial space he seems to be particularly preoccupied with the painterly craft, and with depicting light and shifts in atmosphere.