Toying with perception, Finnish artist’s oil-on-canvas collection offers alluring, poetic lexicon of the everyday.
Z Gallery Arts presents Finland – born artist Henni Alftan’s first North American solo exhibition, Shadows in the Mirror, on display from April 6 – May 8, 2017.
This exclusive collection of 15 original, oil-on-canvas works explores the mimetic relation of paint as material and the image. Through striking, figurative pictures composed with careful framing, ellipsis, light and shading, Alftan plays with the observer’s gaze, inciting the viewer to take a deeper look at everyday objects and scenes that are not what they seem.
“I have had my eye on Henni Alftan for some time, having seen her works presented with critical acclaim in Helsinki, Paris, and New York,” says Zohra Bonnis, curator & owner, Z Gallery Arts. “Capturing what initially appear to be mundane settings – shadows of a chain link fence, light peeking through foliage, the reflection in a rearview mirror – she finds something rich and nuanced in every scene in which to engage the viewer. With her exquisite skill and unique perspective, I am thrilled and honoured to represent Alftan, and look forward to introducing many more artists of her caliber from around the world to Vancouverites.”
Born in Helsinki, Finland in 1979, Alftan studied at École Nationale Su Supérieure des Beaux – Arts de Paris, and the Edinburgh College of Art. In 1998, she moved to Paris, and was first featured in a group exhibition in Lyon in 2001. Since that time, Alftan’s immense body of works have been displayed in more than 20 exhibitions throughout Europe, including 10 solo presentations in Finland and France.
Through calculated brushstrokes, Alftan evokes the semblance of actual objects with subtle deviations from reality. As a result, the object inversely begins to refer to the painting itself as an object. Her mastery over this style is credited to her intricate knowledge of the rules and codes of image making. In 2016, Alftan’s paintings appeared alongside works by Henri Cueco, Gaël Davrinche, and Nils-Udo in J’ai des doutes. Est-ce que vous en avez?, an exhibition in Paris focused on notions of doubt and perception. The previous year, Alftan enjoyed a six-month residency at New York’s prestigious International Studio & Curatorial Program.
Alftan’s work can be found in collections at Finland’s Amos Anderson Art Museum, Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art, and The Helsinki Art Museum, among others. Drawing inspiration from painting’s history and progression, Alftan spends much of her time reflecting on iconic works in galleries and museums in Paris. She cites her contemporary influences as figurative painters Luc Tuymans and Alex Katz, as well as Vancouver’s own photographer Jeff Wall.
You can find the show at Z Gallery Arts.