Marit Geraldine Bostad ‘a right kind of wrongness that once I see it, touches me. To me that is true beauty.’

Marit Geraldine Bostad Abstract Expressionist, if the heart was given hands to paint, then the result could be something by emerging artist, Marit Geraldine Bostad. Her work has the beauty of half remembered dreams, the plaintive mesmerism of whale song and a gorgeous, puzzling and enigmatic Joycean stream of consciousness. Main Image FASHIONATURA I (detail).

Her studio is out at an old naval base, not in use anymore, called Karljohansvern, just outside Horten city, south of Oslo in Norway.The artist lived there from the age of seven to twelve, so the area is filled with memories and good feelings. She knows the woods, every exciting corner to explore as a child and every place to find comfort as a grown up. This special place amongst submarines, canons and beautiful nature gives nurture to her creations. A peaceful area filled with history and presence in every wall.

Marit Geraldine Bostad Abstract ExpressionistOutside Marit Geraldine Bostad’s studio.

To begin at the beginning. Was there a damascene moment when you decided – or knew you had to be an artist?

I would say there were several moments building up to what changed my life. Growing up I escaped into drawing or painting whenever I had the chance. I was the oldest of three, my mother had a condition that made her hospitalised several times a year, for quite long periods. So from early age I had lots of responsibilities, making playtime extra meaningful and cherished. I remember from the age of seven or so, that I was thinking: I couldn’t live without my paper and colours. Painting and drawing became my passion throughout my childhood. Both my parents were artists, my mom had her own studio – designing custom made clothes.

Marit Geraldine Bostad Abstract ExpressionistMarit Geraldine Bostad with large scale canvas, PLAYING IN THE BACKYARD.

My father was a musician. Growing up in an artistic home might have given me a different upbringing with creativity solidly rooted in my life. But on the other hand, they struggled as artists, to make ends meet. They had to take on other jobs as well. When I was at the age of making choices for school, planning my future – their voices echoed in my head. “Go for something safe and solid, a profession where you wouldn’t worry about income. Look at us…”. I wondered why life had to be about doing the right things.

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Marit Geraldine Bostad Abstract Expressionist
THE KISS (detail).

I studied philosophy, and then psychology for a year – before I just quit, it all felt wrong. Then I did a year of marketing communication, but had the same empty feeling inside after a year. Eventually I found a school that had some of my creative interests, so I took a Bachelor in Art Direction. Spent almost ten years working with visual content and design in film and print. My work was most often about pushing consumer products out in the world. During these ten years I escaped into painting whenever I had a chance… weekends, nights, holidays. It reminded me of going back to the same place I once was as a child. My own room full of life and freedom. Away from worries and fears.

As an Art Director I had several moments when I decided to quit my job, but I woke up the next day – feeling guilty for not appreciating what I had… the real moment of truth came after bringing a child into this world. It gave me a new strength, a clearer connection to myself somehow. I finally quit my job, it had almost made me sick. Today I am grateful that creating something from an own inner source was stronger than my fear. VIEW ‘THE KISS’ HERE.

Can you tell us a little bit about the process of making your work, we love process.

At the moment I am changing my work process a bit. Earlier I was working with ideas and defined projects, specific memories or places, people, music. Bringing with me these ideas into my studio. Narrowing down my colour palette. Putting myself in a state of mind – where it is about going backwards, trying to experience the memory or specific person through my feelings. Let my colours and tools continue a story I am sensing. A translation, a decoding – the world as I experience it.

Nowadays I have been drawn to move beyond conveying external memories and feelings gained from human observation in my work process, to reach deeper into my own psyche – attempt to erase the line between the conscious and subconscious, allowing the canvas to become the tangible manifestation of my inner psyche. My plan right now is to have no plan.

The-Whisper-Gallery-Marit-Geraldine-Bostad-Abstract-Expressionist_Young_Intentions
YOUNG INTENTIONS (detail).

My work has become about ‘un- learning’, setting aside empiricism and tapping into a deeper source that we all have, but so many of us deny access to, our hidden emotions and desires, our hidden anxieties and fears, our subconscious. I want to express the colours of this unknown realm. By allowing myself to embrace this new inner world of the subconscious psyche, I finally reached a new level of interaction, a new source of inspiration. Entering my innermost self brought new colours, new mark making and new gestures, my palette became more vibrant, and my application bolder as my physical being transpired in my work. VIEW ‘YOUNG INTENTIONS’ HERE.

Painting has always been therapeutic for me in the sense that I embraced my emotions and transcribed them onto the canvas, but in retrospect I can see now that I only expressed my true self to a certain extent in order to protect my underlying fears. As I searched to develop my expression I found myself pushed into a corner, the search for development itself seemed empty, meaningless. This sense of lack made me realise I had no other choice but to seek inwards, to be able to see the bigger picture and to be able to genuinely use my art to reflect my true self.

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Is there a piece you’ve created that you’d like to be remembered for, for all time, or even longer?

I believe I might be remembered for paintings that have not yet seen daylight. (But, I would rather be remembered for hundreds of paintings. That would mean lots of different people really connected to my work, not only liked what others liked).

If you could work within one past art movement, which would it be. And why?

If I was a man, I would have loved to work in America late 1940 ́s. It is so exciting to read about the growth and strength of abstract expressionism. Even as a woman, I guess it was exciting. Today, we can see a lot of important and appreciated artworks from women painters from the same period.

Marit Geraldine Bostad Abstract ExpressionistCOLOUR ME (detail).

How would you define beauty in 140 characters or less. N.B. There is no correct answer.

To me, beauty has always been an ambivalent word. Beautiful can be boring. An empty hunt or desire in itself. The more experience I get in living, the more I appreciate some sort of wrong. A right kind of wrongness that once I see it, touches me. To me that is true Beauty. VIEW ‘IN THE SPOTLIGHT’ HERE.

Do you have a favourite photograph or painting which has been your inspiration?

There are so many. But for a long period an abstract painting by Gerhard Richter was constantly visiting me.

If printable, what is your greatest indulgence in life?

When I was in New York at The Other Art Fair in June 2017, I had a collector/sponsor that sent me to this extravagant, luxury hotel to live for a week. I never allow myself something like that out travelling/exhibiting and I almost felt guilty, pampered in beauty, good food, swimming pools. Being an emerging artist is not much glam – it is most often about hard work and an unstable income. But I am pampered with good experiences and happiness in doing what I love. And I am so grateful to be working with lots of amazing galleries, artfairs, curators, advisors and other artists supporting each other.

Marit Geraldine Bostad Abstract Expressionist Marit Geraldine Bostad’s Studio, Karljohansvern, a disused naval base, Norway.

How does the culture of where you live or work impact on your work?

I guess we are all influenced by our surroundings, the people, our heritage. The way we live. That’s what makes creating something in a bigger perspective so interesting.

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DEEPER (detail).

Tell us about your colour palette.

“Nordic Colours on drugs”… Haha. I am referring to a conversation I had in London with a young man. That was his first impression of my use (or abuse??) of colours. Whenever I think about his statement, I have to smile. He is so right.
I like to use pastel colours, typically Nordic Colours. But I also love to play with the picture perfect, build it up and tear it down with some sort of wrong. An interesting meeting point, contrasts in life. Glossy, thick layers of vibrant acrylic paint living in a dysfunctional relationship with tender details of pastel. Working with colours is a livelong study, and my only fear is that I will die even more hungry on exploring. But I guess I will die happy. That really makes a difference. VIEW ‘OLD MEMORIES’ HERE.

Which artist or artists would you most like to meet? And do you think you’d get on?

I would love to have a chat with Gerhard Richter, or Elizabeth Murray… If going back in time I wouldn’t mind peeking inside of Francis Bacon’s mind either… or Hilma or Klimt. I think I would have been a bit nervous, but if we could paint together I am sure we would have managed ok.

Do you interact with technology in your work?

Not that much directly. I have a series that is questioning digitalisation of our community. Quite often it frightens me that we loose contact with each other as human beings, the old fashion way. Relationships are starting through a screen. The word “like” is not so likeable to me anymore. VIEW ‘HER CODE’ HERE.

What do you wish every child was taught in school, at home, in life?

I wish every child got the chance of experiencing how good and unique they are. And get this rooted in themselves in an early age.
As I see it, the digitalisation of our society makes young children basing their self image on external stimuli from strangers, from friends… It is a new world of fear out there and it starts from early age. To be a “looser” is so visual, and who’s popular is blinking out in red lights and numbers. I try my best to give my children a solid base of life away from screens and computers, to make them be rooted in themselves before looking at others. Doing old fashion things like playing in the woods, drawing, painting, reading. Also learning them that having the newest, being the coolest, is not the same as being happy. And I am forcing them through the holy place of boredom… Today children live hectic, demanding lives packed with activities, high expectations, with parents as their
project managers, always keeping them active… reaching for the stars, often lifting them high up… With a phone and a screen nearby to document… Unless children get time to do nothing, they will not be able to solve things on their own. This is the braking point in every creative strategy. When children are given enough healthy freedom, I believe they build a strong character for life that will both solve and dare. This is the most powerful tool we can give to our next generation.

Have you ever held your head in your hands and questioned your career entirely?

No, I live blessed knowing I did the right thing questioning my former career.

Do you love what you do? And does it love you?

I love it, I love my life. It can be stressful – but that is only when I allow myself to run faster than myself. Push myself too hard on time and expectations. When I am doing what I am suppose to do, things just happen. I make paintings rooted in something true, something meaningful. Doing something meaningful makes me smile, and when you meet people smiling, they smile back.

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Have you ever held your head in your hands and questioned your career entirely?

Never. I wake up happy every day, looking forward to another day in the studio. I feel so lucky to be able to do what I love.

Do you love what you do? And does it love you?

Yes, absolutely. I can’t imagine any other profession for myself.

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