Artist Statement

 

I paint my experiences of spaces I have visited, places I have lived and landscapes I have seen. Rather than re-creating my experience literally, I am discovering its abstract and emotional content. I paint stripes and I can recognize the landscape in them, but the stripes are in motion, as if I was seeing a movie where I can slide back and forward in time and space, feeling of being lost in a space.

Finnish rag rugs and woven wall hangings inspire my paintings and especially the stripes in them, which were traditional and typical decorations in Finnish homes. They also filled the floors and walls of my childhood home. Even today, those striped designs remind me of my childhood. It is a common experience that one’s childhood visual world defines what one considers familiar even later in the life. As an immigrant, I find that this accentuates my longing for the old places and times that largely do not exist anymore. This evokes the nostalgic, romantic feeling of the life lived, and times left behind; like foggy memories of a place that I feel I have been in the past, but cannot quite recall all the details of the experience.

In geological formations, such as canyon walls, I see familiar striped patterns, but in an enormous scale and representing much longer periods of time. The core sample series was inspired by my experiences in pristine nature. I became interested in the possibilities to capture the essence of the geological time, the length of time that is difficult for us to comprehend. The real core samples collected by geologists reveal variations in climate, life forms and sedimentary composition during geologic history.

 

I was born in Helsinki, Finland. I received Master’s degree in Regional Planning at the University of Tampere, Finland, before moving to the USA in 1991. In 1996 I moved back to Finland to attend the School of Art and Media in Tampere. There I concentrated in painting but also enjoyed making installations in collaboration with other students. The years at the Art School meant considerable traveling, not only between Tampere and Seattle, but also painting trips to Norway, Estonia, Italy, and Nepal. I moved back to Seattle in 2000 and established studio in Ballard. In 2005 I graduated from the Artists Trust EDGE-Program, (Artists Trust is Seattle based organization for artists). I moved to Grand Forks, North Dakota 2008 and established studio here. Over the years I have been travelling with my geologist husband all over the world (Nepal, Greenland, Arctic Spitsbergen, Baja California, Alaska, US South West Canyon Lands, Sierra Nevada and so on) as his field assistant. The landscape, especially the sedimentary rocks, and layers (or beds as geologist call them) are elements which have became familiar to me.

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©2019 by Pirjo Berg. 

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