I saw many, many artists I loved at The Armory 2012 in New York. I have decided to create a post each week about them. I will begin with Maria Nordin, who is a Swedish artist, born in 1980. 

Nordin works with watercolour on paper, illustrating the human figures in single or multiple poses. Her works are both delicate and translucent, yet fleshy and physical, with overly saturated colours of red and pinks. The figures reminded me of the appearance of flower petals and bruises. The colours also seemed faded as if they have been in the sun too long, and may be then a little nostalgic, or perhaps a better word, ‘ephemeral.’ The definition- “ literally lasting only one day, are transitory, existing only briefly,”  seems appropriate to describes how the images  just appear from out of the white background. 

Sometimes the figures seem like they are floating, as there is no literal background identified. The figures become reflective and lost in their own world. They interact physically but do not appear emotionally connected. The figures  support one another, to create physical structures and create unusual compositions, but a sense of intimacy does not come across. 

 Circuit of Bodies, 2010-watercolour on paper, 121×215 cm

Group Piece, 2010- watercolour on paper, 178x245cm

Below are a selection of animations- linked from her website 

The animations are short sequences on a loop involving a  repeated action. 
They are really intriguing, as both the medium of watercolour and also the individual personality of the figure is enhanced. I experienced these artworks as quite haunting and an attempt to capture and hold onto a memory of the past. 

MARIA NORDIN– In Your Hands, 2010 animation, 4 sec loop

The above animation reminds me of this painting by Degas. Perhaps an obvious connection to make, but it immediately came to mind.

Combing the Hair (‘La Coiffure’)

The single figures engage more with the audience and evoke a greater emotional response. They appear like photographic snap shots, except in paint. There is an interesting balance between detailed realism and the flooding of watercolour using wet on wet techniques. 

Pink Noise Series, 2011
watercolour on paper, 115×90,5 cm 

Sometimes, they imbue a sense of melancholy or self absorption and are poetically poised.

The Feral Child, 2010
watercolour on paper, 100×180 cm

Here is an animation from YOUTUBE:

Untitled Dance

Nordin’s work to me is  hypnotic, fragile and distant. Her work deals with the fascination of the body and how interactions can be fused or disengaged with one another. 


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