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Erling Sjovold: Recent Paintings

October 16 to December 11, 1999

Marsh Art Gallery


Erling Sjovold's exhibition features his recent watercolors and oil paintings, works where the artist's desire to "slow down time" for reflection is the basis for images that even include the element of time as subject matter, both literally and figuratively. Like many artists that are described as "second sight artists," he creates images that require careful looking beyond the surface realism, works that do not reveal their full statements at first sight. His paintings are rich with layers of meaning that lead the viewer to deeper contemplation of the natural world and its phenomena, including light, a sense of place, and the passage of time.

While his watercolors of the landscape appear more straightforward in the plein-air method of painting, the images in his oil paintings of the still life and landscape are a complex mixture of observation and fabrication. The artist explains that he chooses his "subjects for both their formal characteristics and their symbolic content." Blending, or bending, perceived reality with the impact of abstract form and structure to achieve a heightened reality, he imbues ordinary, commonplace objects with metaphysical overtones by placing them in extra-ordinary situations.

In these recent paintings, the artist investigates the psychologically-laden terrain of nature and natural objects combined with the objects and settings of humanity; often he brings the two genres of painting, still life and landscape, together in his simultaneously real and surreal images. His highly-charged compositions are about an environment that is both representational and metaphorical, a place where the artist juxtaposes intriguing objects and invites us to explore the possible meanings we might find there.

This fall semester, we welcome Erling Sjovold to the faculty of the University of Richmond as assistant professor of art, and this exhibition of his paintings introduces his creativity as an artist to our university and the Richmond community.

Richard Waller
Executive Director, University Museums, and Director, Marsh Art Gallery, University of Richmond

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University of Richmond Museums


Richmond, VA


Erling Sjovold, paintings, watercolor, landscape, natural world, University of Richmond Museums


Art and Design | Fine Arts | Painting

Erling Sjovold: Recent Paintings