A time to weep,
and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn,
and a time to dance.
– Ecclesiastes 3:4
Elina Merenmies (born 1967) is a painter and drawer whose respect for the tradition, technique and materials of visual art runs through her whole oeuvre. Solid professionalism includes both a knowledge of traditions and their transgression, which for Merenmies means the freedom to work and makes her a unique contemporary artist. Her paintings in oil and tempera and her ink and crayon drawings on hand-made paper are executed in a refined way, in a hand that is both precise and liberated at the same time.
A rich and layered array of meanings, emotions and recurring motifs come together at the core of Merenmies’s works. The artist’s extensive oeuvre is a unique and mystical universe in which fascinating figures dive into the depths of forests, burrow under the ground to seek safety or rise to the clouds. Comedy and tragedy, fear and consolation, and hope and despair merge harmoniously with each other. Human understanding and sensitivity for the complexity of life have a strong presence. Merenmies’s works can be approached as gates to silence and the ultimate essence of being human.
Bourgeons and Cracks continues Merenmies’s treatment of her central themes, such as the forest, sky and clouds. Art history, history, literature and religion are also important sources of inspiration for her. In her choice of subjects, however, she does not take the easy path, for the winding detour is far more interesting than proceeding in a straight line. Merenmies challenges herself while working and the completion of a piece can be an internal process of long duration. It is important for the artist to wait for the right moment in order to know when to proceed. Sometimes a painting may wait for over twenty years to find its ultimate form.
Works by Elina Merenmies are included in leading public and private Finnish collections along with those of many Nordic art museums, such the Arken Museum for Moderne Kunst and the Uppsala Art Museum as well as European and American private collections. Works by her have been on display in recent years in solo exhibitions at Kunsthalle Helsinki (2012) and the Nordic Watercolour Museum (2010) and in group exhibitions at the Kuopio Art Museum (2018–2019), the Norrköping Art Museum (2017–2018), HAM Helsinki Art Museum (2017) and Galerie Mikael Andersen in Copenhagen (2016).