Nino Mier Gallery is thrilled to announce Smultronställen, an exhibition of paintings by Swedish-born and Norway-based painter Peter Mohall. His first with the gallery, the exhibition will be on view in Los Angeles from January 5 – February 17, 2024.
The bold, idyllic scenes comprising the exhibition depict serenely cultivated natural landscapes, from farmlands to parks and beaches. Inspired both by his own experiences within Swedish and Norwegian landscapes and by those represented by Nordic artists such as Helmer Osslund, Aleksi Gallen-Kallela and Willi Midelfart, Mohall paints colorful images of tranquility on earthy jute. The figures appearing in many of the paintings are represented at a distance, their particular features indistinct as they stroll, play golf, and prepare to swim.
Mohall’s works are presented as sites of contemplation rather than engulfment: framed in straight-on compositions, the paintings do not ask viewers to identify with the leisure classes depicted in the paintings, or to be immersed in their activities, but rather to survey their environments from a more detached position. The schematic, alienated quality of the work is emphasized by Mohall’s signature cast swatches, wherein the painting’s colors are sampled tidily along the margins – or equally spaced throughout – the composition.
The exhibition’s thematic concern with leisure and the en plein air tenor of the landscapes recall Impressionism, while his hyper-saturated color schemes evoke the boisterous aesthetics of Les Nabis, die Brücke, and Fauvism. The purple, orange, and yellow tones of the sky in Blomsterstilleben på bokhylle are akin to the Fauves’ “orgy of pure colors,” but the relaxed and refined golf course visitors represented in The Dew Sweepers is more benign than bacchanalian.
Woven throughout Mohall’s art-historical ruminations and thematic articulations is a medium-specific inquiry into abstraction. Despite the narrative quality of the works, Mohall emphasizes the nonfigural aspects of his visual language such as color theory, form, and texture. Individual elements of his landscapes, when viewed as discrete units, often become smaller sites of abstraction. Consider the clouds in Hus vid Haväng, which, when viewed individually, become formal interactions of color, texture, and shape.
Beyond Mohall’s compositional abstractions, the cast color swatches within each destabilize the narrative cohesion of each painting. Each color used in a landscape is indexed on cast identical brushstrokes, a technique first deployed in Mohall’s Brushstrokes series, two works of which are included in the exhibition. In his Brushstrokes works, a series of color swatches radiate down a monochromatic background. These formalist works thematize gesture and repetition—two fundamental elements of painting—intruding on a sense of authentic expression with an automatic-repetitive casting technique. The unique, handmade brushstroke combines with mass production, a tension between the natural and the artificial evident throughout Smultronställen.
Peter Mohall (b. 1979, Löddeköpinge SE; lives and works in Oslo, NO) graduated from the Oslo National Academy of Fine Arts. He has exhibited throughout Europe, Asia and the United States, including solo shows with Luce Gallery, Turin, IT; Koki Arts Tokyo, JP; Pablo’s Birthday, New York, NY, US; and QB Gallery Oslo, NO. His work has been acquired by numerous private collections such as Fondazione 107, Turin, IT; Lindorff Norway, Oslo, NO; Central Bank of Norway, Oslo, NO; and JP Morgan Chase Collection, US, among many others, as well as public commissions in both Oslo and Drammen.