The symphony of color
Pia Fonnesbech and Paintingby Ole Lindboe
(Artcritic, Author, Editor of the TV-program "Kunsten i øjet" TV4, Editor of the artmagazine "Kunst", and headmaster at the artschool Thorstedlund)
reduce its lines to eloquent contrasts, its tones to the seven fundamental colors of the prism."
Introduction:It all began with a rainbow. Created by the sun, its rays shone down through the atmosphere, and hence the myth which tells us that at the end of the rainbow, there is a pot, brimming over with the purest of gold and shining in all colors. However, gold is not only yellow. And the color yellow is not only yellow, as is the case for all colors. They are all part of the rainbow. They all have innumerable nuances hidden within them, and all these colors are brought out by light.
For light is the great sorcerer, when we speak of colors. The ability to create light in a painting is perhaps the most important quality for an artist when a painting is to be brought to life.
Looking closely at the artist Pia Fonnesbech's paintings, what you see is light and color. Although each color is not just a single color, for the color unfolds and becomes a complete world of its own. Together, the colors build an entire universe of tones.
One can associate feelings with color, and for instance decide that blue is cold and red is warm. However, this becomes a cliché, as each color has its own enormous range of tones with deep and unexpected qualities. We often speak of complimentary colors, but the alchemy of colors is far more complicated. Color is a tale with no end. Color is a complete universe, where there are no words and the intellect does not exist.
For a passionate colorist like Pia Fonnesbech, the subject of the painting is more or less without importance. Whether she paints a mouse or a mountain, the colors will reveal more of the artist than the subject. She might paint a cherry, a pitcher or a Swedish wooden horse, the kind tourists buy. The subject is practically a pretext for the color. Pia Fonnesbech’s sense of color dominates her paintings. One could also say that color is a prism through which one sees the true nature of everything.
Paul Cézanne, a founding father of modern painting once said that art is a harmony that runs parallel to nature. He continued: "Instead of recreating exactly what I see, I use color arbitrarily to express myself more intensely. Art is by definition never the same as what it describes."
Another great lover of color, Vincent van Gogh, stated it in the following terms: "Color expresses something on its own, it is indispensable, it must be used . . the result being more beautiful than the exact replica of the motive itself".
Van Gogh's phrasing has become a beacon of light for many artists, for whom color is an important part of the essence of painting. It is not a matter of creating an exact replica of the motives one paints. No, a painting has its own rules and creates its own version of reality.
Without colors…no painting.
See for yourself: in the paintings of Pia Fonnesbech.
It began with color
In 1905 a group of French artists exhibited their latest paintings at the "Salon d’Automne" in Paris. The exhibiting artists painted with vibrant and intense colors, their paintings were raw and spontaneous. The exhibition shocked the spectators.
The art critics had no idea of what to make of this new trend. One of them referred to the group as "les fauves", the wild animals, which later led to the name Fauvists and Fauvism. Fauvism became an art movement, albeit short lived. Not long after the onset of Fauvism, the artists in the original group all moved in separate artistic directions.
Derain summarized the new art movement in this way: "Colors became charges of dynamite. They were to blow out the lights. Everything would be raised above reality." The Fauvists agreed that art, with the use of color and form, should be able to evoke an emotional experience.
Perhaps the brightest star of the Fauvists was Henri Matisse (1869-1954). With his clear pallet and consistent approach to color, Matisse created pictures that extended far beyond the decorative. Matisse said of his own work: “ My primary intention is to capture expression. I am unable to differentiate between the sensation of life and the method with which to express it. The most important role of color should be to support expression as much as possible. My dream is to attain the balance of art, purity and clearness, devoid of worrisome or depressive themes . .”.
The art of color - colorist
Naturally Matisse is not the only colorist in the history of art. Color plays a decisive role in more or less all painting, from the earliest cave-painting to pop-art and up to the painting of the present day.
Now and in the futureInteresting things often happen when an artist moves across a frontier.
Earlier, artists went on "pilgrimages" to Italy, and there they met the great masters. Later, France became their objective. Today it would be Germany or the USA. Artists are by definition internationalists.
This also applies to Pia Fonnesbech. She is from an artistic point of view, a child of both Sweden and Denmark. She is also strongly influenced by the younger British artists. In Denmark one can place her in the generation of artists, who have "revived" painting. She has a truly genuine will to rediscover the possibilities of painting. After the group of Danish painters known as "De vilde" (the wild ones) regressed the level of painting to zero in the 1980’s, it has now reestablished itself, and many of the artists of this generation have returned to painting.
Matisse in Sweden
Hjerténs paintings are rich in color, often decorative and ornamental. Her euphoric brush work exudes energy, light and rhythm.
Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) also came to play a decisive role for the Swedish
art world. Especially his decorative and stylized paintings were a great
The secret of color
Certain art critics have tried to integrate psychology into the artists
use of color. The only answer to that is, when good artists paint, it
almost always reaches beyond the use of color as a psychological key to
Creation and growthHow does an artist create a painting? Is it generated in his or her imagination, in the confrontation with a motive, or when the brush touches the canvas and starts its many strokes toward the finished painting? The question is simple, but nevertheless, not simple for most painters, nor for Pia Fonnesbech. "I never wait for inspiration. It happens to me during the process of painting. One stroke leads to the next and one color leads to another. It can also be a pattern, that then leads to something else. I never know where I land. I would get bored if I knew where my painting was going to end." explains Pia Fonnesbech.
"There should be some kind of a distortion, a surprise, perhaps
This riddle is often what separates the banal from the original. A painting must never be too perfect. It should never become too polished, because it then closes in on itself, and becomes so to speak confined within its own technical smoothness.
This concerns also the subject of when the artist should stop painting the picture. Far too many paintings get painted to death by an artist, who just sought to add another detail. Pia Fonnesbech is exceptionally aware of this danger.
Pia often works in series. Her paintings group themselves as if they were related to one another. Each painting is a step on the road to becoming more deeply absorbed. No painting can contain everything, but each painting can contain an important part of a feeling.
Working as Pia Fonnesbech does, for an extended period of time on a particular type of painting, something important happens. She penetrates deep down through several layers. No painting is what it seems to be, when Pia Fonnesbech uses color the way she does. It is a process for her, that goes on for several years. Colors are an exploration towards higher insight. It is like drawing a map, while moving through a landscape. The route only becomes clear, the moment you have arrived.
"Sometimes I come to a dead end and I can’t get any further
with a particular type of painting. Then, there is nothing else for me
to do but start on something new. In this connection a new motive can
be the turning point, even though the transition really takes place with
The good painting
Storytelling and painting
The almost visible
CVPia Fonnesbech was born 1961 and she recieved her education at Idun Lovéns Art School and Stockholms School for Liberal Arts. She has also recieved education at the Royal Academy of Art in Copenhagen and the
Art Academy in Gothenburg.