“The light of those summer nights… I thought there must be some way to capture this feeling in a painting. And sunrise, and the moment just before sunrise, the light coming into being. This is what joins us to all this, to all existence.” –Tor Arne, 2004
I was having a conversation with Tor Arne (b. 1934), and I asked him if he would like to give a name to his upcoming exhibition, or if we should just call it Paintings like we had done before. He paused to think about the question for a moment and then said: “Let’s call it Exhibition for those who see. After all, that’s what it’s all about. I’m afraid there aren’t many who care about what I do these days. But there are some. Those who want to see and know how to see. Those you can form a connection with.”
While physical perception, the landscape, experiences, and emotion always underlie Tor Arne’s paintings, the works are not figurative. They represent only themselves. These paintings give, with visual means, the viewer a deep feeling of a connection with something greater, a shared existence that we usually do not attain. Their deepest essence consists of colour, light and their relationship with our world of experiences, our ability to experience things.
Tor Arne is uncompromising and wonderful. According to his vision, painting is not primarily about what you obtain or achieve; it is more about doing away with everything that is unnecessary, about having the audacity and ability to keep reducing until all that is left are the bare essentials.
This exhibition, which is light as a puff of cloud on a sunny day, is composed mostly of oil pastels on paper. The small-scale paintings are painted, scraped, and grated in the artist’s characteristic style in order to achieve just the right kind of breathing. This time, the paintings are made on gessoed paper, and the work and the base coalesce into a carefully measured and elegant end result.
In the course of eight decades, Tor Arne has had numerous group and solo exhibitions in Finland and abroad. He has work in many prestigious collections in Finland, including those of the Ateneum Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Pori Art Museum, Wäinö Aaltonen Museum, Sara Hildén Art Museum, and Rovaniemi Art Museum. Arne was a long-time teacher and headmaster of the Free Art School.