Elina Merenmies (born 1967) creates a world of her own with her works. A world that is familiar and true, strange and frightening, beautiful and comforting.
People are not explained in simple, unequivocal terms. We are torn by different, mutually conflicting aims, many of which we have learned to keep secret. Elina Merenmies knows this. The figures in her ink drawings are stripped of their “good behaviour”. Perhaps that is why they are so disturbing, with such strong influence, arousing admiration, fear and sympathy.
Even the deepest knowledge would be useless if the artist did not have the ability to express it – and Merenmies certainly has that ability. Her best works have to be compared to Rembrandt and Goya. There is nothing cloying about their skill, nothing forcing itself on the viewer. They are true. They are.
The exhibition also contains recently completed works in oil tempera. They range in format from very small to large paintings, with themes from forests thinking and feeling to innocent nuns, sphinxes of the forest and strange humpbacked figures that require more contemplation. Everything is painted in a fine and refined manner, washed with a wide brush or using marten hair according to need.
In recent years, Elina Merenmies has had museum exhibitions at the Nordic Watercolour Museum in Skärhamn and the Kristianstad Konsthall in Sweden. In 2012, Merenmies held a widely noted retrospective entitled “Secret Joy” at Kunsthalle Helsinki. Produced by the Finnish Art Society, this exhibition included a book on Elina Merenmies’s work.